If you ask people that know me, they would say I probably have done something for them. I have sent them job offers, introduced them to potential relationships, promoted them to everyone I know, I have tweeted on behalf of their campaigns, shared their company on Facebook, I have given to their indiegogo campaign, I have bought their t-shirts, donated to their organization or just introduced them to a contact. So then why is it so damn hard for me to ask for help?
I have really thought about this as I am now in the process of trying to get 250 votes in 10 days to win a small business grant for my company that is turning three this July. The company's main focus is to help the world, to inspire people, to empower the people to take control over their own lives and the world.
This company is comprised of employees who work so hard on every single thing that we do. This and our mission for existence is probably the reason why when it comes to sales, it is easy for me. I can sell what we do, because I know sales are merely a meaningful transaction between two human beings. I have written and been quoted about sales, about negotiation, about asking for money from a VC, and all of this comes naturally to me. Then why is asking for help so damn hard?
Here are the reasons that I have come up with on why it is so difficult for me to ask for help. I am using this article to hopefully ask for a larger amount of help from a larger audience that can maybe help with my paralysis for requesting support.
1) I didn't know my own value until recently. Mika Brzezinski talks about this in her book, "Knowing Your Value." Women under-negotiate, they feel uncomfortable asking for raises, they feel uncomfortable asking for money in general for themselves. Sheryl Sandberg talks about this as well in "Lean In," and it has taken me years of work (including every day still) to recognize my value and not be afraid to ask for what I deserve. Here is the tricky part, the more I need something, the harder it is for me to ask for it which brings me to number 2.
2) Asking for help is one of the most vulnerable things you can do. Vulnerability is my best friend and my worst enemy. Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability (you probably know her because she has 20 million views on her TED talk). Here is the catch when it comes to vulnerability. At CatalystCreativ, we empower people to be their most vulnerable selves during their talks, but I am realizing that it is only when you are in a situation that requires you to be completely raw and open and be on your knees surrendering to whatever is coming your way that you can really feel how truly terrifying vulnerability is.
3) Asking for Help Makes you Feel Weak. When I need help, I feel completely exposed. I feel like everyone can see that I am not as powerful as I thought I was. Giving help is so much easier because it doesn't really let people see behind the curtain. When I ask for help, it leaves me feeling like a person can say no, or wouldn't want to ever waste their time helping me. This leaves me in a position where I feel insecure and needy.
Here is what I have found the more I ask for help. The more I ask for help, the more people I find who are willing to support. Even if they are maybe not willing to do exactly what I requested of them, they are willing to help in some way or another or pass it to a person that can help. They are grateful I asked for their help and decided to come to them. They are supportive and gracious and considerate. And so, from these learnings, I am asking you to help. Something I do not feel comfortable doing, something that feels very foreign for me, and something that I hope will reach you in a way that spurs you to not be afraid to ask for help next time.