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  • Writer's pictureJackie Booth

Why we don't ask for help.

Asking for help is easier said than done. Isn’t it?

We’ve all been there; struggling on with something because you should know what you’re doing and everyone is waiting on you to deliver without any problems.

Asking for help will mean that you’re weak and needy, maybe even a failure.

If this sounds like something you often think, then I urge you to stop and take note of the times when someone asks you for help. I bet you’re only too happy to help where you can. In fact, mostly you’re flattered and feel glad that someone recognises your worth.

So why would it be any different when you ask others?

We all have our own reasons that ultimately hold us back and stop us from reaching out.

I’ve put together a list of the top ten potential reasons that hopefully will help you to narrow down what yours are. Not all of these will resonate with you, but you can use them as a starting point to create your own list.

Looking at your personal blockers is the first step to overcoming them, so be honest with yourself as to why you don’t ask for help.

1. You feel you should be doing it yourself

2. You feel guilty if someone else has to take over

3. You don’t want to feel incompetent or like a fraud

4. You’re scared of asking or don’t feel confident enough

5. You don’t want to be rejected

6. You don’t want to be judged

7. You don’t want to burden someone else

8. You don’t trust anyone else or have the time to explain it

9. You want to be in control

10. You don’t really want to do the piece of work that the help will enable you to do.

When I looked at this list, I realised that apart from procrastination, the main reason behind a lot of these is fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, feeling weak or vulnerable, losing control, giving someone else power. The list is endless and very personal.

It’s essentially a list of all the things that our inner critic will pop up and say when we feel we are out of our comfort zone.

What do you do about it?

Usually, you’ll stuff these emotions and thoughts down inside some corner of your mind marked “do not touch” and aim to ignore them. However, this is isn’t a great policy in the long run. Inevitably something will come up that will trigger your uncertainty and leave you feeling in the exact same place .

I’ve come up with three great ways to help work through your blockers. They’re also things that you can start out right away:

1. Take action

Alongside the list of fears, make a list of reasons why you need help. What will extra help or advice give you? What will you gain from it?

For example, it could be a first step to building a closer relationship with a colleague or your team. I’ve often found that when I’ve shared some part of my own uncertainty, it gives others permission to do the same.

At home, your family may not realise you’re struggling unless you ask for help. Being honest with them about what you need to support you can bring you closer and allow them to see all that you already do for them and your family. It could be something like an undisturbed hour to take time for yourself, or someone else taking on one of the household tasks.

Making a list of positive reasons and outcomes will help balance out the fear and reduce its impact. It will also diminish your stress to get things down on paper.

2. Acknowledge the fear

Like with pain, fear is often there to protect you, however, trying something new and getting out of your comfort zone will result in your inner critic having something to say about it. Thank it and move on because it usually means you’re doing something new and exciting. And that can never be a bad thing!

3. Don’t ignore what you’re feeling

Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Acknowledge you’re scared and don’t hide from it. Think of it as expanding your self-awareness; the more time you spend understanding your responses and reactions to situations will only help you in the long run.

Give yourself some quiet time to make a list of what you’re thinking and feeling; the action of cataloguing your responses will help you feel like you’re in charge and will inevitably reduce any negative impact. We’re all greedy to learn more about ourselves, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many quizzes on Facebook like "what colour am I" or "what does my name mean!"

This is an opportunity to do some deeper work that will stand you in good stead when similar situations occur in the future. Just by being aware of how you respond in certain situations will mean you can recognise them easier and give yourself the time to consider how you want to react, rather than letting your fear drive your response.

Next steps

I’m always open to chatting to women like you who want to develop their self-awareness in the workplace and to understand themselves better.

Contact me and ask about booking in a free “Career-Next-Step” Strategy Call. I can help you identify the one thing that is stopping you make the changes you want and support you to work out what you can do to take action right now. You don’t know if you don’t ask and there’s no obligation if you book in time to chat with me.

Or download my free Effortless Leadership e-book that will give you the five confidence techniques to get you noticed and get ahead in the workplace, all without losing your authenticity

Check out my other blogs on how much a coach costs, and what a coach actually does, to find out more about how I work.

I hope all this information has helped and if you’ve any other questions please get in touch.

Jackie x

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