Is the Fear of Asking for Help Sabotaging Your Success

Is the Fear of Asking for Help Sabotaging Your Success?


By Nicole Bandes

Founder, CEO of Virtual A Team

Read more by Nicole

It’s time that you stop being afraid to ask for help! 

Asking for help isn’t something we were raised to do easily. In school, we are taught not to collaborate and to do our own work. At home, we are assigned individual chores rather than encouraged to work together. At work, we have to take credit or blame as individuals in order to succeed or fail. We were programmed not to copy, now we can’t even ask for help.

If you can’t ask for help, you can’t delegate. And if you can’t delegate, you will struggle to succeed.

  • If you can’t ask for help, you may have a much steeper learning curve. Mentors and coaches can shorten the time necessary to learn new and necessary skills.
  • You may get stuck constantly spinning your wheels with administrivia and never get to the real business-building work.
  • It could cause you to miss the obvious and simple solution to a challenging problem that would otherwise take up lots of time.
  • You may create even more time-consuming problems from your lack of knowledge or experience.

Download our Ultimate Guide to Delegating for More Tips & Tools on How to Delegate as a Solopreneur

This last point was an issue for a client of mine who felt she could do all of her own website maintenance on her own even though that wasn’t her area of expertise. 

Case Study:

“Heather” felt she had enough knowledge to save herself some money and time by doing the updates on her own. Unfortunately, something went wrong in the update and her website crashed. Heather spent several hours trying to undo the damage and recover her site. Finally, Heather put it out to her tribe that she needed help and had a good friend step in to fix her problem within 30 minutes. Heather’s fear of asking for help cost her 5 hours that she could have spent on productive, business-building tasks.

online course

Let’s take a closer look at why we struggle to ask for help.

In her article, 5 Mistaken Beliefs About Asking for Help, Lorie Corcuera talks about the five assumptions we have when it comes to asking for help. These assumptions likely play into our fear.

  • It’s a sign of weakness.
  • I’ll lose control.
  • I might have to reciprocate.
  • I don’t want to burden anyone.
  • It’s just easier and faster for me to do it.

Each of these assumptions is full of excuses and fears. 

Pro Tip

Create a list of administrative tasks that you could easily delegate. This is now your Administrative Assistants task list.

Is the Fear of Asking for Help Sabotaging Your SuccessA Sign of Weakness: There isn’t a single successful person on this planet who has gotten to the top on their own. NOT asking for help is much more a sign of weakness than asking for the help you need. 

Losing Control: Having control of nothing is not worth more than having control of something. Wouldn’t you rather LEAD an amazing team in a successful organization than have 100% of the control of a struggling idea?

Reciprocate: Are you thinking, “What if I can’t or don’t want to return the favor?” Asking for help is not a balance sheet. When you are able to empower individuals to help you, they usually aren’t keeping a running tab. 

Being a Burden: So you don’t want to burden someone? When was the last time you felt it was a burden if someone asked you for help in a way that made you feel empowered? More often, rather than being a burden, we are giving the gift to allow others to use their strengths and passions. 

Easier and Faster: It is only easier and faster to do it yourself up to a point.It might take you 20 minutes to complete a task that takes someone 10 minutes when they are well trained in that area. If it takes you 30 minutes to train them, after 3 times, they are now saving you time.

Finally, it is very important to remember that being vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness. This is a concept I struggled with for years. However, after the loss of my son, I knew I no longer had a choice but to open myself up and ask for help. It was scary and definitely WAY outside of my comfort zone. What I found, though, was that I had more people come up to me and being willing to help and support me. I didn’t have to put on the false face of a super-strong, Teflon-skinned woman to be successful. Quite the opposite. There was far more opportunity to be successful when I share my vulnerability.

Remember, asking for help is a great way to save time. Don’t be afraid to let people know how they can help you.

The Ultimate Guide to Delegating

Don't stop now! You'll also love this other great content...