It takes a lot of courage to admit you can't do something on your own. It can make you feel vulnerable and afraid. I know. Believe me, I've been there.
One of the biggest hurdles in asking for help for me was letting go of my pride. I believed asking for help would show I was weak.
I mean, let's be honest: Who wants to willingly reveal their weak points?
Instead, you tell yourself: "I'll figure it out myself. I've always relied on myself in the past. I can do it again."
And everything is fine until anxiety takes over. Then, you start to get scared someone might see through you, and start to believe you are incapable of doing the work.
The pressure weighs you down:
- You start worrying about what others might think of you.
- You get nervous at the thought of failing.
- You start believing you might not be capable.
- You feel stressed about appearing imperfect.
- You feel vulnerable, anxious and exposed as a fraud.
If you are living with the feelings listed above on a regular basis, you are showing yourself and the world that you'd rather be afraid than ask for help.
Those feelings are unnecessary, and certainly not the way leaders live their lives.
Fear is a shifty companion because it skews your thinking. It makes you defensive and insecure because you believe everything and everyone feels negatively about you.
Fear also impacts our mental and physical well-being. According to University of Minnesota Center of Spirituality & Healing, physically living with fear weakens our immune system and can cause fatigue, depression, accelerated aging, and premature death.
It negatively affects your thinking and decision-making, too. It can interrupt brain processes that regulate your emotions. For example, it changes your ability to read non-verbal cues, to reflect before acting, and to behave ethically.
So what can you do to push past your fear of asking for help? Below are some strategies that can help you conquer your limiting beliefs once and for all:
1. Open your eyes and mind to the bigger picture.
Remember that when you allow fear to control your life, you hold yourself back from doing your genius work and creating great results. If you are smart (I know you are), you realize being paralyzed by fear isn't efficient or effective. The better strategy is to ask for help, line up adequate resources, and get the work done.
2. Face your fear.
You can't defeat an enemy you don't know. Write out what triggers your fear of and how it holds you back. Be honest with yourself. Honesty opens doors. It's a powerful tool.
3. Give yourself permission to be you.
Don't try to be anyone but yourself. That means you must first know who you are and own it. Create a list of tasks that you enjoy and are good at. Then, create another list of things you don't like doing. Let other people do those things you don't enjoy. You can't be perfect at everything. Remember, everyone possesses a unique ability. Discover what makes you unique and do more of it.
4. Tap into resources you have and find/hire/ask for the help you need.
Oftentimes people overlook the resources and support they already have. Look around and create a list of all the support and resources in your life right now. Don't discount them simply because they are familiar to you.
Next, determine which resources you are missing, and what you can do to acquire them. For example, if you hate cleaning your house, hire a housekeeper. If you hate doing your books for your business, hire a bookkeeper. If you are ready to make changes in your life and career, hire a coach.
5. Practice being yourself.
It is humanly impossible to know everything and be perfect at everything. We all need a little help now and then. Instead of trying to be someone you can never truly be, why not practice being yourself?
Are you overwhelmed because you are afraid to ask for help? Share your experiences below in the comment section.
Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.