Do You Feel “Worthy Enough” To Accept The Help Of Others?
Leadership Lesson: True self-improvement can’t take place without the honest vulnerability to reach out to others for help when necessary.
Why is it we don’t like looking like losers?
Sometimes that’s how we feel, how we’ve labeled or perceived ourselves–as if we are weak, pitiful, and vulnerable losers–because we feel like we need help with something. We feel that if we show that vulnerability, we’ll be judged, criticized, or, even worse, ostracized. Some might avoid the conversations as they might see the state of needing help as one that is stigmatized as that of being a “downer” or just plain incapable.
Any hint of lack of control and we feel as if we’re undeserving of <<You Name It>>.
It’s astounding how many times people have shunned help or turned away from offers by others to listen simply because they don’t want to either seem like a burden or show their vulnerability. This is one of our biggest fears. We all seem to have this programmed sense and desire to keep appearances and seem completely composed with nothing amiss or out of place.
But we can’t hide from ourselves. Our insecurities can eat us alive and yet we’re fine with that. Better the devil that you know…
It’s an unhealthy charade.
In these cases, more energy might go into the ongoing desire and effort to hide true feelings and beliefs than would go into just opening up to a confidant, talking it out, and releasing the tension.
Whether it’s personal or professional, opening up is a means and step to build up your inner core and strengths. You have to acknowledge your shortcomings, whether they are real or perceived. And whether they are real or not, in either case your perception and self-assessment can become debilitating.
But fear, again, is a perception–a manifestation created by ourselves. Work through it and the healing, building, and fortifying phases of your life/career, whether it’s been a momentary lapse or long-term fear, can begin.
The severity of not being able to ask for help might vary, and so many consequences can come out of not being able to open up. The consequences can be staggering both inside and outside of the workplace. In the work environment, mistakes can increase, liabilities can surface, and relationships can self-destruct. In the personal life, the inability to ask for help of any kind can lead to anxiety, depression, loss of friendships, or worse.
What’s amazing is that in many instances as soon as someone begins to discuss their fears and how vulnerable they feel, the actual action of talking allows them to reframe their situation and release some of that tension. There’s a stark difference in perception between allowing yourself to stew inside your mind versus talking it out with someone and hearing your logic verbalized outside of your head as you try to walk a listener through your mind maze. You’re no longer a hostage to possibly your own worst enemy, but now conversing with someone who has your best interests in mind. They will hold you accountable, but they won’t seek out your imperfections with a sniper’s accuracy as you might do with yourself. The key here is to find a true confidant. Too often in society, others are either too agreeable or dismissive when consulted by those in need. Find someone who is a true confidant and an involved listener.
It’s understandable that some people might not see the need to open up, or have the energy to do so. That’s obviously fine; there’s a time and a place for everything. Others, though, might feel a chronic and ongoing apprehension about divulging that about which they don’t feel confident.
Fear is a crippler. It’s unforgiving and useless. It’s mean and unnecessary. Healthy precautions? Ok. Paralyzing self-judgment? Nope.
It’s amazing what comes out of the release of fear–the decision to work toward opening up and stepping outside one’s comfort zone. One realizes, or harnesses, certain personality traits or abilities and skills that were never put to use due to fear. They remained in hibernation due to the unknown world outside.
It is the same when someone allows themselves to ask for help. It’s liberating to be able to open up about oneself and learn from mistakes. At least if there are mistakes or missteps of any kind, one can correct them and start right back over. It might also sound counterintuitive, but the ability to ask for help is a sign of strength, honesty, communication, and self-awareness, which are all some of the strongest attributes of great leaders.
Demonstrating this vulnerability to others might lead one to realize that others feel that same caution when sharing their needs. Oftentimes, knowing that someone has the same fears makes one feel less isolated and different, and experiencing that similarity can help someone realize they have much in common with those in their professional or personal circles. Through that realization their inner tension can possibly subside.
This honesty about oneself is a skill, ability, and openness which should be cultivated and engrained in our children. It is a fear that outlasts childhood, that then grows with time and contributes to these inhibitions and perceptions as adults.
We owe it to ourselves to offer the world the best we can–the best of ourselves–as well as try to help others achieve that same freedom. We’re each a work-in-progress. We need to realize for our sake and the sake of others just how much precious time is being lost because we don’t want to reach out for help, assistance, or a confidant.
We reach out. We learn. We evolve. We improve.
The biggest, reasonable, and only fear that should exist is the fear of missing out on someone’s true greatness because they are defeating themselves before they can ever get started.
So…What About You?
- How might have you held back on asking for help and why?
- Did you get over that fear? If so, how?
- Can you think about the greatness you saw in another, which was tempered or stifled by that person’s inability to ask for help?