The idea of “fake it until you make it” blows. It is the antithesis of vulnerability. It requires you to outright lie to those around you, or give the appearance of a life you’re simply not leading. Worst of all, it prevents you asking for help.
I have a problem with asking for help. It’s probably one of my worst traits. I see asking for help as a combination of annoying and weak. I hate to bother people, and I also hate to seem weak—or worse: needy.
So when things get tough, I try and suck it up. When people ask me how I am doing—even on my worst days, I will usually say “fine” or “considering pretty darn good!”. Sometimes that is true. Sometimes I cry alone in the shower instead of just asking for help.
Asking for help doesn’t mean having to ask for a lot.
It can be asking for a hug.
It can be asking for support of kicking a habit, or addiction.
It can be asking for an opportunity to prove yourself—again.
It can be asking for a job.
Or it can be asking for a second, third, eleventh, chance.
The scariest part of asking for help, is that the other person can say no.
That’s a risk you have to take: rejection. And perhaps this is another reason I don’t like to ask for help—maybe I am terrified of rejection, of being hurt by someone simply saying “no”.
But today is Monday, and that’s as good a day as any to break a lifelong habit—today I’m committing to asking for help. Committing to being vulnerable and authentic. Commit with me, let’s each ask one person for help a day this week—whether it’s help opening a can, or help starting your next venture.
Let’s practice vulnerability together and let’s try our best to be there for those who need our help—no matter who they are.
Advanced reading, check out this Stanford B-school article on asking for help and the data behind it.
P.S. If I can help you—please ask me: email@example.com