The Importance of Knowing When to Ask for Help


Asking for help is never easy. The thought of others judging you and your own feelings of uncertainty can be overwhelming. This is even more challenging when it comes to work. Of course, nobody wants to be seen as mediocre or lacking in confidence when it comes to their skills. But asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness — it’s a strength that can be harnessed to improve yourself, your career, and even uplift the people around you.

In fact, a study published by the Harvard Business Review found that stubbornly lone workers are more likely to fail. Because they refuse to accept help, they end up compromising the quality of their work and even their general satisfaction towards their job. Resisting the need to ask for help might even be causing you more problems in your career, a topic that we previously explored on A Wild New Work.

So the next time you find yourself in a rut as you work alone, consider these reasons why it’s important to let go of your ego telling you that asking for help diminishes your worth.

It pushes you out of your comfort zone.

The first step towards learning how to ask for help is to change your perspective. The fact that you are in a position where you need help means that you’re way out of your comfort zone, and psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo states that this drawback is necessary for growth.

“Breaking your own mold can only make you stronger and more confident to reach higher levels in your professional and personal life,” she shared in an article on Medium. At the very least, you can take comfort in the new learning experience that awaits you.

It makes you work more efficiently.

Sometimes, opportunities present themselves before you know how to fulfill them. While it’s great to take chances, acknowledge when it’s time to ask for a little clarification or assistance. Blindly navigating through a project does not only make things unnecessarily harder for you, it also wastes precious time trying to figure things out from scratch. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or consult someone who can shine a light on what you need.

It fosters collaboration.

We’ve all heard of the old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child.” The same saying goes when creating any major output. It’s not enough to make something that has your name all over it — you also want the best possible results.

It’s important to understand that some things do require more than one pair of hands, even if it’s tempting to be a jack of all trades. Special Counsel points out how areas like data analysis, cyber security, and information governance need special expertise that not everyone is equipped to handle. Likewise, you yourself have skills that others need. This is normal. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what you can achieve when you bring great minds together.

It gives you more perspective.

The best ideas don’t usually come from just one person. Asking for help allows you to gain insights and opinions that you wouldn’t have imagined on your own. The Undercover Recruiter explains that this is one reason why diversity has been gaining popularity in workplaces everywhere. Indeed, innovation takes place when you open the table to people from different backgrounds, experiences, and working styles who can contribute different ideas to any discussion.

This is a guest post by Tina Martin. Tina is a psychologist and entrepreneur. Born and raised in the creative city of Portland, she enjoys helping people in their journey to discovering their passion. She is also a mother of two.