- Posted by Janet Zaretsky
- On April 4, 2017
- 0 Comments
“I wish you would have asked me.” I say to my friend when talking about some help she needed getting some design work done on her brochure. This is a common conversation, not only for me, but for many of my clients, and people I meet.
The people in your life, in your networks, in the groups you belong to, in your neighborhood and anywhere you participate are amazing assets and treasure troves of knowledge. Yet, I find, many people are reluctant to tap into that resource. Just take a moment and look in the various areas of your life. Who is in those areas? What do they do? Who might they know or what might they know?
Have you asked them for support? Chances are, if you are like most people, you rarely ask. Why? Do you think you will be a ‘bother’? Do you think they will say ‘no’? Are you embarrassed that you need support? Are you concerned they will feel ‘obligated’ and provide you with something they really don’t want to? Are you afraid they will judge you? Or (fill in the blank)?
Here is the thing I want you to know, (that you likely really do know, but don’t put into practice). Most people love to help others. It is empowering, it is satisfying to help others. Just look at what happens when major incidents or crisis happen—people come out in droves to support perfect strangers. Why? It is human nature to help. We get an endorphin rush out of knowing what we did mattered. In the moment when you are helping someone, you experience being powerful and it is gratifying. Just look for yourself at the times you have helped someone- didn’t it feel good?!
We have a dichotomy, though. We want to help other people, but we won’t let or ask others for help. It seems to me that when we don’t ask for help, we are robbing someone of the opportunity to help us and experience being fulfilled. That is one dimension of this conundrum. There are two other issues I want to point out.
Next, when your reason for not asking is that someone will feel obligated, or they will do something they don’t want to do, what is really going on (unconsciously, likely) is that you think they are not capable of deciding on their own. In other words, you have a very small opinion of them. If I trust you to make your own decisions, I think you are smart enough, capable enough to decide for yourself— I ask you. I let you say yes or no. When you don’t ask, you have decided for them.
Lastly, when you are concerned you will be a burden to them, that is your lack of confidence speaking. You are not a burden. Yet, if you frequently encounter times to speak up and ask for support, yet don’t, you might want to consider you are not fully related to who you really are. You have some self-esteem issues or a lack of confidence that is impacting you. I suggest working with a coach to get past that and be as powerful as you really are.
The thing to do is make a list of what you need and then a list of who you know and see if you can find someone you know to help you get what you need. That would be a gift to you and to them!