The Value of Asking for Help

It always saddens me to see a person struggle alone for an extended period of time, without asking for help. If you watch someone do this, you will see frustration written all over their face. You will often hear strings of curse words. There is lots of grumbling and frequently, there is also blaming someone or something else, or worse, explaining the current bad luck by concluding that it's a consequence of some stupid or terrible thing they did in the past.

Watching this is difficult because the solution to the problem is often as simple as asking for help.

Recently, I watched a family member try, without success for a 15 full minutes, to use a old model cell phone to set up an account using an iTunes app. After a few minutes, I could tell that the reason it was not working was probably because the phone was so old (four years, approximately), that it and the app were not communicating well. I watched the frustration unfold for 15 minutes. The furled brow. The complaining. The cursing. The clenched teeth. The deep and frustrated breathing.

I finally offered to see if we could set up the account on my laptop, and what do you know? Mission accomplished in about 60 seconds. So, this person spent 15 minutes of her life unnecessarily increasing her frustration level, all because it did not occur to her to ask for help from the person sitting right in front of her. Who knows how long this would have continued had I not offered to assist?

But I should not have had to offer. She should have asked for help long before I offered it.

Are you inclined to do this to yourself in your business? Do you limp along trying to make things work using old technology — or new technology — that you don't understand? Or maybe you know you need to be a part of a business Mastermind group, but you don't know how to make that happen? Are you trying to build community around your brand with a private Facebook group, but you don't know where to start? Are you seeking to launch an email newsletter or a blog, but you have no idea how to set them up and make them work for you?

Have you asked for help? If not, well, you get what you ask for.

The Value of Asking for Help

  1. Asking for help builds community

    You never know what kinds of new friends you'll make by asking for help. When you ask for assistance, you will often find that others feel more comfortable asking you for help as well. The types of interdependent relationships that can result will make life more fun and rewarding. This is a great long-term benefit of asking for help.

  2. Asking for help strengthens your leadership skills

    Before you ask for help, you must first decide what you want. Once you know what you want, you can surround yourself with the resources you need to get it. As you do this, you'll become a better and more effective leader — of yourself and of your business.

  3. Asking for help moves you closer to your goal

    The longer it takes you to ask for help, the longer it will take you to achieve your goal.

  4. Asking for help forces you to think

    Many of life's problems can be solved by taking a few minutes to simply think things through. If you have a problem, ask yourself what three or four things would have to happen to make the problem go away? In the example above, the answer was pretty obvious — try another device to see if the problem was with the app or the device being used. That split second thought would have empowered my family member to proactively solve her problem, instead of complaining about it.

  5. Asking for help relieves frustration

    The sooner you ask for help, the sooner your frustration is relieved.

  6. Asking for help trains you to be more self sufficient

    Once you get the help you need in a particular situation, you are better able to handle the same and similar situations when they arise in the future. Consider the example above. Until my family member gets a new phone, next time she wants to set up an account using an app, she will be more likely to go straight to a laptop or borrow a friend's newer model phone. This will save time and aggravation, and the problem is solved before it materializes.

  7. Asking for help forces you to clarify exactly what you want

    It is possible to be frustrated by something (or someone) that you don't need or want in your life anyway. The prospect of asking for help can sometimes remind you of what is and is not worth your time. This process often leads to a frustration-free resolution of its own, without you having to ask for help at all.

  8. Asking for help saves time and money

    In the example above, my family member spent 15 minutes of her life getting nowhere but more frustrated. Fifteen minutes is not a lot of time, but it adds up over time, if that's how she lives her life daily. If she doesn't change her approach, she'll spend thousands of hours in knot after knot of avoidable frustration. What a waste of time that could be invested in activities that produce better and more profitable business and life outcomes.

  9. Asking for help preserves your precious energy

    You have limited energy resources. Asking for help gets you closer to what you want without you having to deplete your energy reserves to get it. Borrowing a bit of someone else's energy is a smart way to move yourself forward while reserving your energy for things you can more easily do on your own.

Asking for help will make you a better person in almost every way, and it will also move you closer to the life you want to live.

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Do you ask for help when you need it? Or do you struggle alone? What's holding you back from asking for the help you need? What will you do to change that? If you are inspired by the information here, feel free to share in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.