How To Ask For Help

What are you like about asking for help? I hate it!

Not all “asking for help”, of course. I don’t mind asking someone to lift the other end of a table, for example.

But asking for real help, with stuff that matters? Just the thought of it brings a massive wave of emotion up through my chest and into my throat.

helping handsWhat’s beneath that emotion? Something like the fear of not being good enough, of being a failure, and – worse still – of being seen to be inadequate.

I quickly push the thought away, and force the thing I need help with down to the bottom of my to-do list.

Phew! What a relief!

I suspect this kind of struggle happens to other people, too. And I wonder if it helps to explain why teams find Collaboration Dynamics so valuable.

Let me explain. Say I’m basically working on my own (as I mostly do), and I’ve gone through the “asking for help” struggle a few times around a particular thing. And the reality is that no matter how much I push it away, the need for help is still there.

Eventually, I’ll force myself to ask for it. If I know of an expert, someone who has told me he’s good at the stuff I’m struggling with, I’ll go there first.

For example, I recently asked Alun Richards to help with my new podcast. I know he’s delighted to have more of the work he loves, and get paid for it. I get to create something I want for my business. Win-win.

But more often, in my despair I throw my request for help out to my whole network. “Who can help with X?”

If nobody responds, my mortification is total. Not only have I exposed my inadequacy, but I still haven’t got the help I needed. I slink away and hide under a rock.

Contrast this with what can happen when you’re part of an effective, collaborative team:

  • Team members are likely to notice that you might need help well before you’re ready to ask for it
  • Team members are in a position to offer help – including help to find an expert
  • You know about the expertise of your team members, and about what they enjoy doing, so asking for their expert help becomes an invitation to win-win
  • When you ask for help, you will get a response. Silence – the worst case scenario – isn’t an option.

No wonder that collaborative teams, when they work well, produce more than the sum of their parts!

  • What’s your view? Please comment below.
  • Want to know more about Collaboration Dynamics – and try it for yourself? Click here

1 thought on “How To Ask For Help”

  1. Richard Smith

    Hi Judy,

    This is all so familiar to me! Both the struggling to ask for help (everyone who knows me would agree with that), and the working in a supportive team, as I do now. The product is, as you say, more than the sum of the parts.

    I suppose the challenge that comes from this is; I am as good a team mate to my team mates, as my team mates are to me?!

    Thanks for this.


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