“I need your help”
If you’ve joined my mailing list, like so many people are quickly doing, then you’ve likely received an email from me saying, “I need your help.”
And, if you received that email, then you will see most of the principles I want to share with you in this article. While there is no single best way to ask for help, there are some things that should always be considered.
With that, here is how I ask for help.
Know what you need help with
The worst thing you can do is ask for someone’s help and not know what you need help with. It is important to note that you may not specifically know what you need help with, but you should know what you are working toward.
So, even if you don’t know the specifics, be clear about your desired outcome.
You should have a good idea of what you want to see happen. When you have a vision, you can explain where you are stuck and what you are trying to achieve. That alone may be the key factor in getting the help you need.
Find the right people to help you
Just finding someone to help may not be helpful at all. The most important piece is finding the right people to help you.
Once you have become clear on your vision, or have a good idea of what you need help with, seek out the right people to help you.
Identify someone with experience, or a skill-set, that addresses your problem. If you don’t know that person directly, ask someone you know to introduce you to someone who does.
Solve the right problem
A really big idea here may be a bit surprising and is often hard to see.
I had a friend recently that was trying to get something done on the computer. He had all of the other things in place; he knew what his vision was, he was able to express it clearly, he sought out the right people to help him. But, the one thing he did with everyone who tried to help was explain a specific part of the problem as if it was the only way to achieve the vision.
You may have skipped that so I’ll put it again.
Explain your vision and where you have gotten stuck or need help. Then, allow the folks who’s help you have employed to present a solution for executing on your vision.
Please get that concept because it’s a big one. 🙂
What if it is definitely a singular problem?
If it is a singular problem that you are keenly aware, the solution to asking for help is really simple.
Be very clear and specific in your request.
No one, yes no one, wants to feel like they are doing more to solve your problem than you are. I know that seems like it’s behind you if you are taking the time to read this article, but I want you to step it up still.
Always be mindful of taking more responsibility than those helping you. Find ways to help them help you, participate in the brainstorming, and celebrate the progress along the way.
When you are receiving ideas on how to solve the problem at hand, hear all of the ideas before you say no to any one idea. Once you’ve heard them, go back through them and see which present the most efficient solution. You may even find that the combination of two or more ideas works best.
And, don’t wait around for folks to follow-up with you. Set target follow-up times on projects that may take more than a day. If you define that time up front, then it won’t seem like you’re overbearing or micromanaging the folks that are going out of their way to help you.
I set that up with a statement like this:
Hey, I really appreciate you helping me out with this; I know it’s a lot. Can I call you tomorrow to see if there is anything I can help you with? I don’t want you to feel like you’re investing more in this than I am.
That simple statement defines appreciation, expectations, and responsibility. It’s my thing and I know that. Plus, now you know that I know that, and that I appreciate and value your help.
It’s hard to ask for help if you are accustom to doing things for yourself. I know that first hand because there isn’t much in this world that I can’t understand or do for myself.
One thing I have learned is that it is important to get over the feeling of being needy when asking for help. Instead of heightening the feeling of being needy, look at this as an opportunity for others to exercise their skill set. Make sure you really feel like they are the best person to get it done though because if not, you’re just going to come off as if you are taking advantage of them.
Unless you genuinely want that persons help, don’t ask for it. Protect your relationship and wait until you can properly value the help.
Let’s be better; together.