For many years, especially pre-internet, in retrospect my own progress was slowed somewhat by not asking for help. That’s self-judgement to be sure and life unfolds no matter what. However, if I can shed some light to help others facilitate themselves more efficiently, then I figure that’s a good thing to share. When I got stuck and didn’t ask for help it was because when I did, I felt others would see me as not being smart or needy. Whether real or imagined, it was important for me to be independent, look smart, not make mistakes-ever (which of course I have).
Now I know I am very capable and the odd thing is that it doesn’t take very long to determine how capable one is. I didn’t realize how much wasted time and self-imposed pressure not asking for help was adding to my stress and slowing my progress in projects. Also, I was not leveraging myself as much as I could because I was not engaging the talents of others.
Intellectually I understood that external perspective is invaluable, but inside it was just so difficult for a perfectionist to do. Now as (jokingly) a “recovering perfectionist”, I realized that my fear was not in asking people but more so of feeling really vulnerable. Simply, asking makes us vulnerable. Asking for help especially in deep personal challenges takes courage as others will see what we’re working on or struggling with, and perhaps they’ll think it’s silly.
It takes courage to say, “I don’t know”. Especially when the 1960s to 1980s academic training reinforces an “all or none” you know it, or you should have known it philosophy.
It takes vulnerability to ask for help yet we encourage our children to do so. When…or perhaps the better question is why does this inquiry stop in some?
What I remember is a time when a teacher said to me, “You’re smart, you should know this” but I didn’t. What my inner child heard was, “if I don’t know it, I must not be smart”. Therefore I must “figure it out by myself”. I gave power to that moment and it wasn’t until I started doing a number of my own meditations and processes that it revealed itself.
While it is difficult for me to do so, I now ask for help. The worst that can happen is someone says no. And I haven’t actually experienced that. Now that I am aware of it, it is so much easier.
When others ask for help, I am thrilled to be of service. I think most of us feel that way.
I do not think I am alone in this regard, so I will ask: If you were more vulnerable in your life through asking deeply personal questions to those who might help you, what might you gain by doing so?
This value is also found in coaching and self-directed personal development programs like Move to Mastery. Available 24/7 you get to experience Dr. Liz’s transformative change program at your own pace. It’s perfect for you if in transition.