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Week 49: Ask for Help

In last week's blog post I talked about my Mom, her tremendous independence, and how she infrequently asks for help. The truth is, when it comes to asking for help, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. For as long as I can remember, I've always favored suffering through tasks alone as opposed to asking for help, just so I could walk away saying I'd done it myself. I'm not entirely sure why I do this, but it’s probably a combination of two factors: fear of rejection and the social stigma of looking weak. For some reason, when I ask someone for something I worry that I'm asking them for too much and/or taking them for granted, even though the likelihood of either outcome is extremely rare.

In a meta-analysis, psychologist Vanessa Bohns examined 14,000 instances of study participants asking strangers for help, and found people were almost twice as likely to get help than they initially believed they would.

After helping my Mom this past week recover from her hip replacement and experiencing first-hand the benefit of helping others, I decided it was time I pushed aside all the negative self talk and try asking for help.

I started on Monday night by asking one of my husband's college friends for help getting my son into a soccer tryout and built on that success by asking several friends and work colleagues for help brainstorming and designing the next phase of this self-care transformation journey. As soon as I was able to release the fear from my head, I was able to reach out openly with a positive mindset. Each request for assistance was successful and while I can’t say for certain, I'm fairly sure that I wasn't a “bother" and people were actually excited and genuinely willing to help.

Asking for help can chip away at our ego, make us feel weak, and foster feelings of worry and vulnerability, but in all honesty, it doesn’t have to be this way. From a more positive standpoint, asking for help can create better results and ultimately help all participants develop. The next time you're uncertain about something, rather than struggling to do it yourself, go ahead and ask for help; I'm confident that you'll be happy with the outcome and quickly realize that the benefits of asking others for assistance far outweigh any preconceived negatives.

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