White male hands reaching for each other implying asking and providing help. White background. Image by reklamlar (iStock).

Image by reklamlar (iStock)

Fear of Asking for Help: What Will They Think?

Are you afraid to ask someone for help because you think that you’re not supposed to need any help? Maybe you’re experiencing perfectionist tendencies and wondering, “What will they think of me if I ask them for help?” I’m very familiar with this reluctance to ask for help.

At the start of a 1992 summer research job, I was given a task that I was told would take two weeks to complete. After two weeks, it was clear that more time was needed. Week after week, I continued to believe that “I’ll be finished in a week”. I was too inexperienced to fully understand the task and worked too independently to ask for help. The task occupied my entire summer, and only at the end of the summer did I collaborate to get the help needed – so that someone else could finish the task after I’d left.

People would rather that you ask for help than wonder if you’re pretending that you don’t need help.

I regret that I didn’t ask for help sooner. I feel that I’d wasted a lot of other peoples’ time by trying to ‘figure it out all on my own’, be it because of my pride in thinking “I got this” or my fear in thinking “I’m supposed to get this”. Looking back on it, I’m grateful for the lesson.

It may take courage to admit that you need help, but you’re rewarded by the benefits of collaboration and a job well done.

Are you currently working on something that would benefit from someone else’s help?

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. –  Barack Obama

White male hands in a handshake, implying agreement and cooperation. White background. Image credit: DragonFly (iStock).

Image by DragonFly (iStock)

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