Don’t be afraid to ask for help

raised hand

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

When I was in grade school, I struggled with math and was really embarrassed by it. The more confused I became, the more overwhelmed and frustrated I felt. When I was just about ready to give up, a teacher pulled me aside and said:

“Meg, there’s no shame in asking for help. If you have a question, just ask.”

This advice seems simple, but it was revolutionary for me. Once I summoned the courage to ask questions, I no longer had to suffer through math class. It was a huge relief to get rid of all that anxiety and best of all, improve my grades. In time, I realised that many of my peers had the very same questions, but were also too afraid to raise their hand. By asking for help, I got the clarity I needed and also helped my peers learn along the way. (This is the socratic method of education at it’s best).

Asking for help is a virtuous circle that liberates and empowers you.Why suffer silently?

When it comes to writing, too often we ‘go it alone’. 

And the results are predictable. We get writers block and end up cleaning our closets instead of writing. (At least this is a productive form of procrastination). In the worst case scenario, we submit a crappy proposal or report that doesn’t reflect our capabilities or jeopardises our business.

But, there is no shame in asking for help! In fact, the best writers will tell you that they have a network of friends, colleagues and editors (if they are so lucky) who they rely on to critique their work or bounce ideas off. No matter what your profession or rank, you can and should ask for writing help when needed. Too often people don’t though…ever wonder why?

Why you don’t ask for help?

Here are the three most common causes I’ve seen that block people from getting the help they need:

1. Good old fashioned pride. People commonly think that by asking for help, they are revealing a weakness. And since writing is an intellectual exercise, people are especially worried that they’ll look dumb or incompetent. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Asking for help is courageous and a sign of wisdom.

2. Fear of criticism. Lots of people don’t ask for help because they know that their writing needs work and they’re afraid of criticism. If you want to improve your writing, criticism from a constructive coach like me will help, not harm. I criticise the writing, not the writer. When we’re done, you’ll be better at writing and wish you had asked for help earlier… just like me in math class.

3. Concern about money. Yes, my services are not free. But, time is money. How much are you willing to spend struggling on your own with sub-optimal results? With my help, you’ll have documents you are proud of and learn to write in ways that advance your business goals. It’s a worthwhile investment, I promise.

So, if you’re stuck and struggling, stop sulking… pick up the phone and say, HELP Meg! I’m here for you. I’m friendly.