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Asking for help

Posted by Meg Bear on November 5, 2009


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These last two weeks I’ve been asking for a lot of help.  I thought it might be a good idea to give some tips on the subject, for those of you who might find the process troubling or intimidating.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned that can increase the probability of getting the help you need to succeed.

  1. Getting help is a bit of a numbers game.  Be willing to ask for help early and often.  Recognize that people do not often say “no” they just fail to come through.   This is part of the process and is nothing to be discouraged about.  It is also nothing to hold against people.  Best to assume that they would help you if they could and that their lack of help reflects upon the fact that you might have asked the wrong thing to the wrong person.
  2. Target your requests.  Do not ask a large group as your only strategy.  This *might* work but it probably won’t.  Better to split up what you need and distribute it out as specific requests to one or two people at a time.  Make the request specific and direct to an individual and they are much more likely to know what you need from them and are often more able to help you.
  3. It works the best when you ask people to do something they are good at.  This will mean it doesn’t require a lot from them, and it gives you a large benefit.  This is another example of leveraging strengths.
  4. Be thankful.  When you get help remember to let people know you are grateful and that they made a difference in your life.
  5. Be helpful yourself. Giving back helping others with things that you know and are good at, is the best way to have people wanting to help you when you need it most.

The interesting thing about helping others is that it reflects well upon you and it makes you feel good.  On the other hand, getting help from others also feels really great.

So for everyone who has helped me get this TED application completed (and you know who you are) I am so very grateful. Please do allow me to return the favor when you need access to one of my strengths, it’s the least I can do.

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