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When Did Asking For Help Become Taboo?

Have you ever noticed how people have stopped asking for help? It is uncommon to ask for help in many aspects of life, but it has become exceedingly rare at work. Even for those who work in a dedicated team environment, the concept of asking for help has become restricted, or taboo, because it has become an indication of failure.

What if you could turn that perception around and actually find the right way to ask for help when you might need it? Here are some helpful ways that you could ask for help at work without making it seem like you’re useless:

#1: Try Everything Before Asking For Help

The reason why asking for help is considered a black mark of failure is because too many people ask for help before they truly need it. The concept of “getting help” is that you’ve already taken on your part of the responsibilities required and have tried or looked at every possible solution. All it takes is for someone to say, “Why didn’t you try [fill in the blank]?” to have your reputation shot. You don’t have to use a sledgehammer to break down a door all the time… sometimes the door is already open.

#2: Know Your Limits

A friend of mine once posted on his Facebook page that he loved being a martyr. It was, in fact, his plan to go martyr himself for his business because that would be the easiest way to get things off the ground. That way everything would be done according to his vision… guaranteed.

It’s good to have a vision and it’s good to work hard, but know what your limits are. If you’re working 90 hours per week on a project and everyone else is working half that time, then it might be time to look around and ask for a little help. You’ll actually be seen as more of a success in asking for help in these circumstances than if you decide to take on everything and then complain about it.

#3: Be Specific About Your Needs

One of the most frustrating things for a manager is to have one of their direct reports sit in their office and completely surrender a project. Rather than just give up, bring your solutions to the discussion. Talk about what has worked, what hasn’t worked so far, and specifically why you feel the need to seek out help at this time. By talking about these options, there’s a good chance that your desire to surrender will become a brainstorming session that helps you find that one missing piece of data that has been driving you crazy.

The way you ask for help will define you more than the actual need for help in almost every circumstance. Turn what might be perceived as your greatest weakness into your greatest success by asking for help in the right way! Don’t expect a hand out… but do expect the chance to collaborate so that together, any task can become a little bit easier to complete.

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