How to Create a Powerful Network by Asking for Help

You’ve landed a new position and an apartment to go along with it.  This can be an exciting, yet uncertain time.  Along with your fabulous new life comes a wide range of challenges – from adapting to an unfamiliar work environment to unpacking and settling into a new home.  The trick to maintaining your cool is to master the art of asking for help.

As women, we’re the first to lend a helping hand, but when it comes to receiving help for our own crusade, we avoid it like an ex on a bad hair day.  “Single women have become so self- sufficient and use to doing things on their own that they don’t want to appear as needy,” says M. Nora Klaver, author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need.

Klaver attributes the unwillingness to ask for help to three fears: a fear of surrender or giving up control, a fear of rejection, and a fear of shame.  To overcome these emotions, she suggests we show ourselves
compassion and realize that while we’d all like to pretend we’re superwoman, we can’t do it all.  Keep in mind that everyone needs assistance at one time or another, and sometimes the only smart thing to do is to ask for help.  If you’re still apprehensive, think about the consequences of not asking for support: exhaustion, stress and less energy, just to name a few.  Worst of all, when you try to go it alone you double the amount of time it takes you
to achieve your goal.

So what’s the key to asking for support without appearing desperate? Before asking, make sure you know exactly what you need help with and what kind of help you need.  The more details you can provide, the more likely you’re to get your needs met.  Klaver then recommends taking a leap of faith and jumping right in.  For example, your new boss assigns you a task that requires the use of new software and you have no clue how to complete the project.  The first step is to identify the best sources of information for your problem.  Then let everyone know you’re “new in town” and ask them to guide you.  Be sure you ask early, says Klaver.  Waiting until the last minute poses the risk of you appearing incompetent.

Aside from getting the assistance you need, there are several benefits to reaching out for help.  Showing vulnerabilities can deepen and transform your relationships, making you appear more attractive to the opposite
sex.  When you ask for help, you’re essentially saying to your potential helpmate: “I confess to you that I need something from you, and I admit to us both that I cannot do this alone,” writes Klaver.  Such a display of openness is inviting, which makes room for a new level of intimacy.  To increase your comfort level, start small by asking your mate to screw in a light bulb.  Then work your way up to asking him to rearrange the furniture or to hook up your entertainment center.

While asking for help may seem like the last resort, it’s the only way to get the life you want and deserve.  Not only will you receive the help you need, but you’ll have peace of mind and deeper relationships.  Instead of being a damsel in distress, you’ll be a woman with a successful work and personal life. 

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