5 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Asking for Help


The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

“I hate asking for help.”

I was driving home listening to one of my favorite podcasts when the topic of being an introverted entrepreneur came up. I’ve heard people repeatedly use statements like the above to describe their challenges, especially those just starting their businesses.

Then I felt it: a pang of recognition. Even though I now run a successful forms building company with over 20 million users worldwide, I can still vividly remember being a rather shy kid as a child. And when I founded my startup in 2006, I didn’t have the confidence I have today: I was much more introverted at networking events and found it difficult to ask others for advice or advice.

In 2019 entrepreneur In that article, author Raj De Matta noted that being an introverted CEO is not the death knell we might think. In fact, he points out that many successful executives — including Bill Gates, Larry Page, Steve Wozniak, and Warren Buffett — once applied that label to themselves. In addition, he notes, introverts are excellent listeners and tend to choose their words with care – preferring meaning to cliché.

But what do they struggle with the most? You guessed it: Overcoming the fear of asking for help.

Related: 5 better ways to ask for help

“The truth is that asking for help puts us in a vulnerable position,” wrote Alexa Dagostino in another 2019 year entrepreneur Article. “We admit there’s something we don’t know about someone with whom we might not want to share this weakness.”

“Sometimes we even have to ask the same person for help multiple times,” she adds, “which embarrasses us and even makes us doubt our abilities.”

The truth is that we are out there may We feel intimidated, especially when we’re used to solving problems ourselves. And as an entrepreneur, there are always new problems that you have to reckon with. So how can we get used to making contact? Below are some methods I’ve learned based on experts’ observations and my own experience.

1. Charge first

When you’re in overwhelm mode, asking for help can seem daunting. It’s a lot easier to break a sweat with a racing heart when you’ve only gotten four hours of sleep. Then charging is essential.

I’ve practiced mindfulness in many forms over the years—whether it’s through meditation, mindful walking, or just unplugging for an hour or two and doing nothing. That seems too easy, doesn’t it? But they have numerous benefits, including allowing your mind to feel calm enough to reach out to others.

Related: Why mindfulness is important for entrepreneurs

2. Think of reaching out as a sign of strength

It’s just a myth that there’s something virtuous about going through things alone — getting work done, no matter how stressful it is. Brent Ritz also writes for Entrepreneur and notes that building a business requires We are looking for advice, support and people with more expertise.

“[This] “It’s not a sign of weakness or inability,” he states. “It’s a sign that you recognize what others can add to your business and your life, and are willing to let some things of them do for you.” In that sense, reaching out for help is something an expression of strength and resilience.

3. Blow through the books first

Doing some research and getting familiar with the topic first can help you prepare before reaching out to others. Michelle Van Slyke, senior vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store, recommends the following:

“Make sure you clearly understand your needs and identify the goal you want to achieve before engaging others. A deeper understanding of the problem you are working to solve will help you develop the right questions.”

I have found this approach particularly helpful as it reminds me of my leadership skills and helps develop my motivation and confidence.

4. Create a culture that values ​​offering help

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that to be more comfortable asking for help, you need to do it too Offer It. When a workplace is user-friendly, people don’t hesitate to share resources and knowledge. It’s a dynamic that, Dagostino points out, you can nurture in the interaction on a daily basis – by regularly checking in with staff and letting them know you’re available to answer any questions or concerns. The help then has an impact on the entire company and makes it easier for everyone to turn to colleagues or supervisors when they are in a tight spot.

Related: 12 simple and efficient ways entrepreneurs can help others

5. Be willing to accept what you don’t know

At my company, Jotform, it’s amazing to see how others nurture their relationships and broaden their horizons simply by being open to learning.

Those of us with introverted tendencies often remain trapped in our world, trying to find solutions without involving others. But being a good leader also depends on being influenced by teamwork and how people support each other in different ways.

The most important way I learned to ask for help was to simply acknowledge that I don’t know everything… that I don’t have all the answers (none of us). Recognizing this fact is an indispensable part of intellectual honesty.

Related: Admit the things you don’t understand and other must-read business tips

With all this newfound clarity of mind, you too can be more courageous to seek help when you need it, without shyness or fear standing in your way.

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