“I can do it myself.” It’s a familiar refrain I often recite in my head. Even though it may seem obvious to everyone around me that I need help, I choose not to seek it. For some reason, my human nature resists reaching out and asking for assistance.
Why is that? What keeps me from admitting I need help? Why can’t I see the circumstances for what they are and then choose to rely on others to help me power through them?
Logically I should always ask for help when I need it. It would make my life run with greater efficiency and reduce much of the stress I place on myself. However, I’ve come to know this…I’m often an illogical person. I can rationalize away the greatest problem and convince myself I can handle it.
Sadly that’s a recipe for a stagnant life.
Why I Don’t Seek Help
From my life, I can quickly identify six reasons why I’ve refused to ask for help. What could you add to this list?
1. My own stubbornness. It’s true. I often don’t want to or think I don’t have to change my mind. Call me obstinate. Call me head-strong. I’m not moving from the idea that I can handle issues myself.
2. To save money. This is a biggie. Asking for help often costs. Instead of hiring that plumber to come install the new dishwasher I try and tackle it on my own.
3. Don’t see the need. Sometimes I’m just blind. The light hasn’t come on in my head that I need help. For whatever reason, the circumstances haven’t quite gelled together in the right mix to force the synapses in my brain to register the thought, “Hey buddy, you can’t do this one.”
4. Feel others are too busy. There may be people I want to ask for help but think they are too busy. They have their own lives to run. My request would only be an imposition that would inconvenience them.
5. Think I will be rejected. The fear of rejection is a potent force that keeps me from saying I need help.
Nobody likes to be turned down or snubbed. It’s crushing on our emotions so we’d rather deal with the problem than face someone turning their backs on us.
6. It highlights my vulnerability. Even Superman was vulnerable. But we don’t have any kryptonite in our lives, right? We are all-powerful and can accomplish anything we set our minds to do.
If however, we do find a weak spot, we surely don’t want anyone knowing about that. What might they think of us? I’d be seen as the worst person in the world because I had trouble with “X”. What a silly notion but I succumb to that line of thinking all the time.
How to Identify I Need Help
I used to think I could do it all. Maturity has made me realize the ridiculousness of that idea. So I’m trying more and more to ask for help and bring others into my life to solve problems and help with issues I struggle with.
Here is how I’m identifying when I need help:
When I lack the technical skill
In some areas, I can tread down the DIY trail. Some tasks are enjoyable and some I even love to learn. However, when I lack the technical skill and knowledge to accomplish a task, I sometimes frustrate myself when I take on the project because I end up creating more work for myself.
This is perhaps nowhere more prevalent than when it comes to Internet and computer technology. I did not grow up in the computer age per se. My first real exposure to computers didn’t come until my junior year in college when we had 386s with the Windows 3.1 operating system installed in our dorm rooms. Anyone remember those?
I’ve taught myself some things through the years but not enough to feel comfortable with the more technical issues. So I’m learning to reach out to people with those skills.
Recently I had the opportunity to work with Grayson Bell who runs the personal finance site Debt Roundup. I’d been having some technical glitches on my site that were beginning to eat into my productivity time as I scrambled to solve them. As a regular reader of his blog I knew Grayson offered many blog management services so I reached out to him to for help.
It’s nerve-racking to ask someone for help, especially when you might not know them very well. But I was confident having heard about his reputation for quality work from other bloggers. So I gave him a chance.
Grayson didn’t disappoint. He was prompt in response to my emails, talked me through what we were going to do, and completed the work in a timely fashion. There was no wasting time on his part to try and bill me for more time than was necessary. He had my domain transferred to another hosting company within two hours and my blog has been running glitch free ever since.
With service like that I’ll definitely be going back for more when the time arrives. With my limited technical knowledge, I’d have been a nervous wreck doing this myself. It was completely worth the money to put it in the hands of a professional.
When I lack the time
Time is commodity we cannot get back. It’s limited. Much like money, when it’s gone it’s gone.
So because there is so precious little of it, we have to manage it wisely. Our time must go to activities that create value and have purpose. Those activities will vary from person to person because we all have different interests. But we must make time for what is important to us and that means there will be other, less important activities that we may need help with.
At various stages in our life my wife and I have sought help and paid for services because we lacked the time. We’ve paid for someone to clean house, do yard work, detail our cars and wash our dog just to name a few. It was emotionally freeing to hand those chores over to someone else and not hassle with it. The time saved in those moments was put to use in other ways we felt created more value for our family.
When I lack the desire
I’ll be honest…sometimes I just don’t want to do “that thing.” I have little if no desire to be involved in that task. However, it might be someone else’s bread and butter activity. If that’s the case I see nothing wrong with bringing them in to help me with that task.
I have no desire to work on my car. That’s why it always goes to a mechanic.
I have no desire to hang or finish drywall. That’s why I’m contracting out the finishing of our garage.
I have no desire to create my own meals. That’s why I rely on recipes already tried by others.
You get the picture. Again your desires will be different than mine. Find out what they are and bring people into your circle to assist you.
Let Go of Your Fear to Ask
Saying I need help can be scary and humbling. Sometimes it will cost you money. It may force you to deal with personal issues, evaluate what’s important and where you are putting your time and energy.
While all that’s true and tough to work through I’m realizing more and more it’s worth it. I simply can’t do everything myself to maximum effectiveness.
There are people way smarter and with drive in the areas we lack who will be happy to come along side us. Find them today and start asking for their help. That will allow you to maximize your strengths and begin doing the things you really want to do.
Questions: Do you have a hard time saying, “I need help?” How else can we identify when we need help? How hard is it for you to ask for help? What keeps you from reaching out to others? Who has helped you recently that was just awesome?
Prior Post: Moments Like This Make Blogging Worth It