Thursday, October 5, 2017

4 Steps To Asking For Help

Asking for help is an essential part of self-care. There is no shame in it. Well, perhaps you’re one of the many who do in fact feel some shame around the thought of asking for help. For lots of people, this common human act does not come easily nor feel natural to do. So here are four tips you may find helpful in the process.

1. Assess and Acknowledge

asking for help

First, consider what you want to accomplish. What is it that you need or want to do that may require help? Obviously there are a ton of possible scenarios. Whether you need to ask for help in regards to your career, a family or relationship matter, a personal issue, or any other goal, write down what you want to be able to do or achieve.

It may be helpful to list any steps you know would be involved in the process of reaching your desired outcome. Then, separate out which ones you can do on your own without any further information or assistance, and which ones you require additional information or help to carry out. What don’t you know or what can’t you do on your own? You may need help in the form of information– perhaps expertise in an area unfamiliar to you, or physical help of some kind (ex: some things simply require an extra set of hands!), financial support, or something else.

2. Accept and Surrender

surrender, asking for help It’s okay to not know everything or be able to do everything on your own. Coming to this honest conclusion around what you need in order to move forward with a goal, which involves some degree of help, is essential to the process. Now that you see in black and white exactly what you need help with, can you accept that this goal of yours is not going to come to fruition without a little help?

There is a saying, “surrender to win.” It’s a prevalent concept in the addiction recovery community. Why? Because letting go and asking for help is often a necessary component to actually enjoying success in overcoming most of life’s significant challenges. Addiction is just one strong example.
Definitions of “surrender” include:
  • to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed
  • to agree to forgo especially in favor of another
You see, surrender doesn’t mean you failed. It’s about recognizing that you will fail if you don’t shift to the winning side. In our discussion here, the battle is in your indecision between trying to tackle some challenge alone versus utilizing help. On one side is you, the lone warrior, and on the other hypothetical side is the help of others. Surrendering means you give up that lone warrior losing battle– wave the white flag signaling you are ready to move over to the winning side: you plus help. Yay! Welcome to the winning team.

Okay, now are you ready to receive some help?  If yes, skip down to #4.  If not, that’s okay! You’re in the majority if step #3 applies to you. And more good news: you haven’t even asked for help yet but by reading this far you’re about to get some.

3. Remove Resistance

Let’s face it, you’re already stressed because of the situation you need help with, and the thought of asking for help is likely stressing you out even more. Regardless of the reasons behind your apprehension around asking for help, if there’s fear there then your physical and emotional system is likely responding accordingly– with the stress response. It’s easier to make a decision and act on it when you are calm and clear as opposed to in a state of stress. In the spirit of practicing receiving help, please accept this simple yet profound tool I’m about to share with you.

The best resource I know for removing resistance is a holistic technique called EFT which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. Perhaps you’ve heard of it as EFT has significantly grown in popularity in recent years. It’s also casually referred to as “tapping” especially after Nick Ortner’s book, The Tapping Solution, became a New York Times best seller.

You can apply basic EFT as a self-care tool that will calm down your nervous system to take you out of that fight/flight/freeze response that stress has led you to. Furthermore, it can help you shift your limiting beliefs around the concept of asking for help – especially if you work with an advanced certified practitioner to customize the process with you. For more info on EFT, see my article "All About Emotional Freedom Technique."

4. Seek and Receive Help

Once you’ve acknowledged and accepted your need for some assistance, and
removed mental or emotional resistance to asking for help, you will find yourself more open and willing to actually ask for help. Now it’s time. You just need to determine where to go for help. That might be an obvious piece of the puzzle for you, or it may involve a little research but thankfully there’s something called Google for that.

 receive help, how to receive helpConsider again what you assessed in step 1 and what you need to get what you want. Seek out the information, physical support, or whatever form of assistance you need, from a trustworthy source. Set yourself up for success in that way. Obviously, don’t go to an empty well for water (someone who has proven to not be available for help) and I wouldn’t suggest going to your financial advisor for emotional support, or your psychotherapist for financial help. You get the idea.  Note: People who you have helped you in the past are likely to help you again (this is related to the Ben Franklin Effect.)

Bring that energy of openness and willingness you hopefully have just reached by this stage, and go ahead and take appropriate action by seeking out a reputable potential source of help and asking for it! If the first person, organization, or potential source of help does not come through for whatever reason, don’t give up! Stay open and willing and continue to seek until you receive the help you desire. Usually it is just a matter of time when you are in that place of openness and willingness to take action for your own self-care.

After Receiving Help, 1 Extra Powerful Tip:

Remember to really take in the results of stepping out of your comfort zone to ask for help and successfully receiving help. Don’t just express thanks to the person or source of support you received; actually feel the gratitude within you as you reflect on the help you manifested. I find that a grateful person typically receives what they need. Stay in that grateful vibe and you will continue to thrive!

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