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Last Updated on December 11, 2020

How to Ask for Help When You’re Afraid To Do So

How to Ask for Help When You’re Afraid To Do So

Nod your head if you’ve ever had to ask for help at work, at home or anywhere else. Now, nod again if you’ve ever felt shy or silly when doing so.

I’m sure some of you reading would have nodded twice!

Whether it’s not knowing the answer to a question in class and looking around to see if your classmates knew, getting stuck on a project at work and needing to get additional input from colleagues, or just being in a new city and needing help with directions, we’ve all been down this road before.

We may not know what to do, and clearly would benefit with some help, yet we won’t–or are afraid to–ask for help. We either very reluctantly do so eventually, or decide to suffer in silence altogether.

Why Are We so Afraid of Asking for Help?

So what stops us from seeking the help that we need? Sometimes it might be that we fear requesting assistance as we don’t want to seem weak, needy or incompetent in front of strangers, our peers or superiors.

Especially if you’re in a competitive work environment, there is an understandable fear that if you let your guard down, this information about you not knowing will be used against you. If you’re too open about asking for help, people may start associating you as the leech who’s always relying on someone, and you’ll start to appear incapable in front of your peers. And as much as you would like to play a fair and just game, the reality is that not everyone thinks that way. There will be overly aggressive individuals out there who will gladly walk over you to get to the top in their career.

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Not to mention, your reputation is at stake. If word got out that you had to seek help of some form, you’ll feel embarrassed or perhaps insecure. You might feel less confident about your abilities and worry about what others think of you. You’re afraid to attract that kind of attention at work.

Unfortunately, we all have a natural tendency to judge ourselves harshly–often thinking of situations much worse than they actually are in reality. As a result, we also miss out on a lot of potential knowledge or help. If only we were able to see past all that self imposed negativity! Or, at least learn how to manage such situations in a more confident manner.

Meet Paul

I have a friend by the name of Paul who runs his own company. He started at a young age and is already a very successful business man at age 40.

When I ask Paul to name something he does to stay focused and on track in life, he tells me that he has a life coach. He has regular monthly sessions with a life coach who helps him through different aspects of his life.

“It almost sounds like a counseling session”, I told Paul.

He simply replied, “Yes.”, with a smile.

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To Paul, the purpose of having a life coach is to give him perspective and to call out on areas of his life that he may have missed out on or neglected.

He see’s having a life coach as a benefit to his success, and not as a sign of weakness.

We’re Seeing It All Wrong

This got me thinking. Many of us automatically assume that going for counseling, taking self help courses, or seeing a life coach means that something unpleasant has happened or is happening in your life. The word help is regarded as a negative.

But the truth is, if we can turn “help” around to see it as a positive act, then going for any of the above would actually be an empowering act.

You need not be in some dire state to seek change. You also don’t have to be at some terrible dead-end or crossroad in life only to seek help. It may just be that you’re wanting to better improve your wellbeing, or to go through some self development to become a better you.

Everyone goes through periods of change in their lives. Whether it’s naturally occurring, or a ‘forced’ change, it’s always meant to improve our well being, and allow us to become better versions of ourselves. But we can’t always make or go through change alone, and that is completely normal. So we should embrace that fact and know that seeking help from someone or somewhere is a perfectly normal thing to do, and not something to be ashamed of.

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Help Is Not a Form of Weakness

In Paul’s case, having a life coach helps give him an extra set of eyes so that he can envision his life and plans much clearer.

As a busy working professional, he has many responsibilities to attend to alongside being a father and husband. In order not to burn out or lose sight of his goals, Paul’s life coach acts as a reminder and offers him new insights to problems or situations that Paul may find himself in.

This is applicable to any form of help and not limited to what a life coach can bring to the table. Research has proven that:[1]

Having a support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of well-being, better coping skills and a longer and healthier life.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, even the most successful people like Richard Branson and Warren Buffet require asking for help and have other people advise them.

Take athletes for an example. Behind every successful athlete, or any athlete for that matter, is a coach. He or she is there to train and guide them on their path to greatness. Coaches have the ability to point out blind spots and play on the athlete’s strengths. The athlete focuses on a current or specific training routine, but the coach already has a bigger plan mapped out and that one training routine that the athlete is focusing on, is but one of many more training routines that will eventually lead to the athlete succeeding and outperforming. Without the coach’s vision to map that out and guide the athlete, the athlete will be training blindly, and not maximising his efforts.

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Seeking Help Is Strength

By taking an active step in seeking help or advice, you’re actually taking control of your life, and not letting external circumstances (such as what people think) affect how you behave and perform. It is courageous to accept your weaknesses!

So if you’re at a point in life where you’re wanting some change to happen, or feel stuck in a rut, it’s time to turn your weakness into strength by seeking help.

Here at Lifehack, we’re committed to your personal development. We want to be your transformational coach, to pull you out of that rut so you can be up and going again. Even if you’re not feeling stuck or at a crossroad, there is always more that you can do to improve and upgrade your life.

More Tips for Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Featured photo credit: Jametlene Reskp via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Living in Fear? 14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

Living in Fear? 14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

Can you see yourself sitting down watching the sunset, the waves lapping the white sand beach as the evening’s last rays of sunshine warm you? A book lies forgotten in your lap and all you are thinking about is how wonderful it is to be you, right here, right now.

Compare this to you watching the sunset and feeling guilty that you should be making dinner, finishing a work assignment, doing laundry, calling your mother or anything other than just enjoying yourself.

Somewhere along the line, feeling guilty, fearful, and unhappy has become the norm. It is almost expected. What happened to us to take away our feeling of excitement for what tomorrow holds and replaced it with worry?

It is time to revisit the things that caused this change, and to nullify their effects on us. Keep reading for 14 ways to live a life free of fear and full of hope.

1. Let Go of Pre-Existing Ideas That Don’t Make Sense

My friend and radio co-host, Sally Nutter, told me about a time she thought she couldn’t eat a pizza because she couldn’t find a knife to cut it. She finally realized that she could tear it up and enjoy it just as much.

There are so many ideas that are set in our minds early on and never looked at again. We do the darndest things for no other reason than we have always done them that way, or someone told us it was the right way to do it.

Start looking at the things you do. Re-evaluate the things that bug you. If they don’t make sense, do it your own way!

2. Know Your Own Power

Everyone doubts their ability to make things go right. Many times, these doubts have nothing to do with whether we can or can’t, but they make us very unhappy.

Take a look at the doubts you have and put them into words. What, or who, made you feel doubtful? As we grow, doubts can be sown in our minds. They can be stated outright or simply implied. Remember that this is someone else’s opinion and can be discarded no matter how much they assert it as truth.

Look at these doubts in the present and decide whether they are true for you. Discard the ones that don’t make sense.

3. Look Carefully at the Things You Are Afraid Of

I had a friend who I wanted to take traveling with me, but she was afraid of flying. Back in the 80s, planes were falling out of the sky and many of us developed fears based on media reports.

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In order to help her out, I sent her to a site that outlined all of the advancements that have been made, and how safe airplanes are today. There were details of exactly how these new things worked and the statistics on safety. She felt a lot better after that.

Things in the past can impact how we view things in the present. Look at current information on things that make you fearful and see if you are worrying over something with relatively low risk.

4. Trust Yourself

Somehow you have made it through everything life has thrown at you and you are still in the game. Although life is uncertain, take a minute to look at all of the seemingly impossible times you have had to deal with. Think about all the times you asked yourself if you would make it through.

Somehow you did it. You may not have done it gracefully, but you did it!

Have faith that whatever happens in the future, you will find a way to deal with it.

5. Quit Looking for Stuff to Fix

There are many home improvement shows, and I love them, but there are times when we should be happy with what we see in front of us.

Our houses are not model houses. We live in them. They will, at times, be untidy and look lived in.

Relax if something needs to be fixed. Trust that you will get to it. But for now, just enjoy.

6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When we go through tough times, we adopt survival patterns that work for the rough times, but are not necessarily right for everyday living.

We may have decided to worry about the small things, so they don’t get away from us. It takes the joy out of life.

If something goes wrong, you will notice and handle it. Most of the small stuff irons itself out.

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7. Remind Yourself That You Are Worthy

There are many messages tossed at us in life. Most of the time, they are attempts to get us to buy something. We are told we are not thin enough, smart enough, educated enough, or cool enough.

Here is a new take on these things:

You are enough.

You are enough no matter what you weigh. You are enough no matter what your IQ is. You are enough if you decide that you are.

These things are up to you, not anyone else. Know that you, as you are, are worthy of love, happiness, and all the good things in life.

Take a look at this guide and know your own worth: How to Raise Your Self Worth and Trust Yourself More

8. No Matter What Is Bugging You, You Can Always Do Something About It

Looking at your situation right now, it may look pretty bleak. But no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something that you can do about it.

If there is something bugging you, sit down and figure out some things you can do about it and then go and do them.

9. Hang out with Positive People

There is nothing more discouraging than someone who is apathetic and makes it known to everyone around him or her, or the person who is always angry or sad no matter what you do to help them.

These people can bring us down. Limit your exposure to these people. The majority of your time should be spent with dynamic people who are happy and get things done.

People who find ways of handling things in life are the people who feed you positive energy.

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10. Don’t Let Anyone Insult, Manipulate, or Use You

This can be hard to spot but whenever you feel uncomfortable around someone or feel as if you are walking on eggshells, chances are they are doing or saying things that bring you down and make you liable to manipulation.

Social rules can make it difficult to stand up for yourself when someone is negative or insulting but, that is what that person is counting on.

People who covertly insult you are counting on the fact that you feel you are being rude if you point out that they have acted thoughtlessly. But they are the ones who lack manners.

If someone treats you bad, just remember that there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other people.

If someone insults you, you have every right to cordially insist that they treat you with respect. It is not good manners to sit there and be abused. If someone insulted your spouse or child, you would rise to their defense. Why not rise to your own defense?

11. Don’t Set Personal Goals Based on External Influences

Last week, I was talking about goals with my brilliant friend, Julia. She reminded me that it can be damaging to set personal goals based on external factors over which we have limited or no control.

For example, having a personal goal of winning a dance competition is an external goal because you never know when the judges will be biased, or some other competitor has a better day than you. Having a personal goal of learning a highly technical program, on the other hand, is a good internal goal because it is something over which you have complete control.

Look over your goals and revise them so that you are in control of the outcome.

Take a look at this guide and learn how to set goals: How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

12. Throw Away the Newspapers

Most of what is written in the newspapers is BAD NEWS! There is nothing like something very scary to make people buy and read newspapers. Have you noticed that there is rarely, if ever, good news on the front page?

Good news exists everywhere. You don’t have to look hard to find it. If you are having trouble believing this, write down all of the good things you see in a day. People open doors for others, people put on benefit concerts to raise money for injured or ill people. The list can go on.

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I fully believe that there’s way more great things happen each day than bad things, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

13. Work with Children

My job is teaching music to children. It is the best job I can think of. Children are so bright, adorable and fun. They are excited about the future, even if the future is a sleepover or a movie. Kids are more balanced than the average adult because they have not learned to be worried or fearful.

Working with children in whatever capacity you can puts you in the same mindset. I get swept away daily by these kids and their ideas. It is the highlight of my life.

14. Listen to Music or Take a Look at Some High Quality Art

Art and music are the antidote to the stress and negativity of life. It is like the Yin and Yang. It is your choice whether to focus on the good or the bad. Contrary to what many people believe, art and music are not just whimsical pursuits; they are the breath of life.

Many articles tell you to focus on the good but, they don’t tell you that you have to make an effort to go out and find the good. It doesn’t just come to you.

Go to Youtube and find music you love, look at websites and books to find art that makes you happy. Bookmark them and go to them often. Make it a large part of your life to seek out and enjoy these things.

Tip the balance in favor of things that make you really happy. This has a profound effect on your happiness level.

Go have a look in the dusty corners of your mind and pull out some of your old decisions and thoughts about things. Take a look at them in the bright light of day and see if they still make sense. If not, toss them in the trash and move on!

Good Luck!

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Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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