Women will tell you that they have a hard time asking for help, so instead, they try to do everything themselves and end up dropping the ball or even burning out. They might have gone through life so used to being the one who gives the help, rather than the one at the receiving end. Ironically, women want help most of the time but are either afraid of asking, feel guilty to ask, or don’t know how to ask.
Mark Amend is quoted as saying: “Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” Asking for help is a self-confidence thing. Once you build up your self-confidence, you will feel secure with yourself, enough to ask and allow others to help you.
Why are Women afraid to ask for help?
For decades, women had to fight for their rights. They have always wanted to be seen as equals to men. Women are seen as the “helper”, the “carer” and in modern times, also the “provider”. Whether it is on a social or professional level, women want to be perceived as being in control, independent, strong, and capable. Then why do women feel that asking for help would feel like asking someone to take over the reins and then be seen as weak? Consequently, women have a misconception about asking for help.
How to ask for help?
Dennis Wholey said: “One sign of maturity is knowing when to ask for help.”
When asked, most successful businesswomen will say that part of their success is due to having a strong support group. People want to help. When people help others, they feel wanted, appreciated and worthy.
So, it’s a psychological thing to ask for help as well as to accept help when offered. Women might feel uncomfortable at first, but practicing asking for and accepting help, will improve the process, which will lift the weight off your shoulders causing you not to burnout. When you ask for help, consider the below:
- Make a conscious decision to ask for help and don’t back out. When you decide you need help, stick to the decision.
- Be considerate about when, who, how and where to ask. Make sure you are not inconveniencing others or taking advantage of them. This will help you feel more at ease because you are being courteous.
- Make sure to ask the right person. Someone you trust and can rely on. This will make you feel more comfortable with the situation knowing the person will not let you down.
- Be clear about what you are asking and communicate it effectively. Be straightforward and don’t expect the person to assist you with things you were not specific about.
- Don’t apologise when asking for help. People want to help because they feel wanted. They can only help you when you allow them, so don’t apologise for allowing them to help.
- Pay it forward. Remember to help that person again when they need you. This will help you feel less guilty when asking for help.
- Think before you refuse assistance. If someone offers, they want to help otherwise they would not have offered. Learn to accept help.
- Remind yourself deliberately regularly that everything won’t fall apart, it is not selfish, and people won’t think less of you if you ask for help or let someone help you.
There is a huge barrier for women when it comes to asking for help. They have both professional and personal lives to think about. They must cope with a lot throughout the day and regardless of if you want to be seen as a superwoman, the reality is you are only human and can do and handle only so much.
Women, in particular, feel that they are portraying themselves as a needy and incompetent individual when asking for help. They view requesting assistance as losing control and they might see it as someone else is now being expected to step in and fix the situation that they were incompetent of handling. However, Les Brown said: “Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.” Asking for help and accepting help when offered will lighten the load and minimize stress. Dividing the responsibility gives you support to cope better. So basically, asking for help is good for your mental and physical health.