Afraid to Ask?
How often have you needed help or advice but refrained from asking? What stops you? The fear of rejection? Embarrassment? The conviction that the best way to do something is to do it yourself?
If help is easily given, most people are more than willing to offer it. More than that they enjoy helping when and where they can because help is a cycle. I help you, you help me. We all grow and succeed by helping each other.
Amanda Palmer is a self proclaimed “Rock Star” who made it pretty big in the indie scene when she raised over a million dollars in under a month from her fanbase of about 20,000 people. She attributes her success to being an excellent asker.
Amanda Palmer’s Ted Talk, “The Art of Asking,” is about the value of asking for help, and how the person helping you is actually repaid in how good it feels to help another person. She also wrote a book about the same topic.
According to Amanda, asking and giving is a never ending cycle. Askers are the best givers because they know what it’s like the be on the other side. And if they can, people genuinely want to give. The problem is so many of us have a problem with asking.
We don’t like asking for help or for money because it makes us feel guilty or ashamed for needing the help. But it shouldn’t. Because the day will come when someone will ask you and it’s the best feeling in the world to be able to return the favor to someone else.
Career related asking
One of the best things you can do as far as your career is concerned is to learn to ask. Ask people for help if you’re confused, don’t just blindly hope for the best. If you're looking to learn something new or want to try something different, ask someone who's already successful in that field if they'll mentor you. If you need someone to take your shift, ask them. If you need to borrow a little money from a friend, just ask.
As long as you don’t abuse the asking privilege more often than not you’ll find the answer is “yes”. No one will think less of you for asking. We all need help sometimes. And we’re all in the position to provide help sometimes.
Positive physical effects of asking
On a more scientific note, asking actually has awesome effects on the brain. If you want someone to like you more, all you have to do is ask them for a small favor. Even if they don’t like you, they’ll likely do it to not be a jerk.
Once they do it, their brain assumes they must like you, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing you this favor. So, they, in turn, like you better.
Asking and helping create bonding relationships
Asking and helping bonds people together. We love to help each other. It’s in our nature. We evolved to want to make sure everyone is okay. It makes all of us feel safe and secure and good about ourselves and each other.
So next time you need help, don’t just push through it yourself. Give yourself a little nudge and ask. The worst they can say is no.