Is It Time to Ask For Help?

Is It Time to Ask For Help?

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Expert Author Susan Leigh
Many of us feel disinclined to ask for help. Even asking for directions can require a huge effort. We may be loathe to appear vulnerable or incompetent, telling ourselves, 'I'll be fine, we must be nearly there by now, it will all work out in the end'!
But whilst we may feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness, the reality is it can often be a sign of strength. Appreciating the value of additional support or input can positively influence our chances of success, saving us time and allowing us to maximise our resources. There's nothing weak about doing that!
Here's to recognising that it's time to ask for help.
- Feeling overwhelmed, out of our depth, not sure where to start or how to proceed is an important indicator that it's time to ask for help. Whether we're in a study, work or domestic situation it can be frustrating and futile to fritter increasing amounts of time not knowing where, what or how to begin. Overwhelm can result in anger, frustration and feeling de-motivated, especially if we're new, young or lacking in confidence. If we're unable to determine the way forward we may end up feeling stupid, useless and choose to walk away.
Asking for help from the outset means we potentially start with a clearer overview and directions or instructions from day one. We're able to make notes and continue using any of the channels of communication we've opened, so helping us become more confident about speaking up if and when required.
- There may be areas of our life which really cannot be ignored any longer. A team may be struggling to bond, a disruptive relationship may be causing havoc or staff development may not be as successful as was planned. Outside help may provide a better, more neutral perspective, see things differently and be able to work effectively to bring about positive results.
If our personal relationship is struggling, outside help can be beneficial in the form of relationship counselling. This can be a good decision even when the only option left is to split, facilitating a more respectful resolution, especially when there are children to consider.
- Stress often builds up over time, perhaps being triggered by a catalogue of day-to-day pressures, unhappy mindset or precarious physical wellbeing. Learn to recognise the signs that your stress symptoms are starting to appear. Signs may be poor concentration, accidents and mistakes, not sleeping well, losing your joy in life, each alerting you to the need to start saying 'no', develop better coping strategies and start asking for help.
Counselling and hypnotherapy can be a good way to deal with old unhelpful habits, support good decision-making and introduce effective stress management strategies. Find time for fun, things that you're good at and commit to taking regular breaks.
- What about those occasions when we're already doing too much, yet still agree to take on more, rather than say 'no'! Such behaviour can come from a fear of appearing incapable, inefficient, not coping or we don't want to disappoint or risk losing a client. We may want to do it all, be keen to be involved in every step of the process, perhaps not trust others to do as good a job or prefer to micro-manage everything.
Asking for help allows others to feel included, part of the team and so enable them to develop and even suggest better working practices. Or there may be some real value in forming alliances with other associated businesses and offering a more comprehensive menu of goods and services, a win/win for all involved.
You gain by having additional time for other, perhaps more important things, or free up some time for fun activities. It might be viable to pay for help with domestic chores, like gardening, ironing or cleaning or engage business expertise to support your accountancy, social media, admin needs; all could be money well spent.
- Perfectionism is often a barrier to asking for help. Easing our stress levels through constant checking may bring its own temporary reassurance, but it's often short-lived. Learning to move on from one piece of work when it's finished, good enough, can save a lot of time and stress. Besides that, going over something repeatedly often means we become de-sensitised and word-blind to any flaws or errors. A fresh pair of eyes can often zone in on something straight away.
- Trust other people's areas of expertise. If you know someone who's already practiced or familiar with what you're attempting to do invite them to share their experiences with you. Chances are they'll be only too happy to help and you may be able to reciprocate at another time. Alliances like this can bring advantages to all involved.
Our business skills or personal capabilities may benefit from the introduction of a coach, trainer or mentor to provide guidance, motivation and accountability. Soliciting help can move us out of our comfort zone and take our personal and professional development to the next level. When our aim is to grow and develop it's often important to ask for help.

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