Developing your “ask for help” muscle

Nothing makes me happier than when Women on Fire members get together to nurture and expand their dreams!


Writing from their hearts: Darlene Wade, Nancy Aronie, Dyana Robenalt, Elizabeth Cassidy, Carrie Mays and Jenifer Madson. (Photo courtesy of Jenifer Madson)

Such magic occurred this past weekend for women who attended our recent retreat speaker Nancy Aronie’s Writing From the Heart workshop in New York City.

And, while Women on Fire members were being inspired by brilliant Nancy Aronie and each other in New York, I was winging my way back to Naples, Florida from California.

I spent two days consulting with and being inspired by America’s #1 success coach and co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, Jack Canfield at his home in Santa Barbara.

He and his company’s CEO Patty Aubery praised our latest Women on Fire book and gave me great advice on how to reach more women so they, too, can be connected to the inspiration, strategies and support found here.

But it was not the fascinating business strategies and discussion at Jack’s house that I would immediately put to use.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Learn how to 'ask for help' in this week's SPARK from Women on Fire®

As we said goodbye, Jack gifted me a book he co-authored with Mark Victor Hansen – The Aladdin Factor – with the provocative line on its back cover: Anything is possible…if you dare to ask!

At Women on Fire, we talk a lot about learning to ask for help.  It’s even one of the aspirations we’ve set out for ourselves: I can ask for help.

And yet most of us admit we aren’t so great at it.

Some of us dream to be like Woman on Fire Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Unbinding the Heart, and the subject of a past Women on Fire monthly interview.

In her wonderfully charming way, Agapi revealed her philosophy and how she learned to ask for help.

“This directness was something that my mother taught me … to simply ask people in a gracious way for whatever I might want from them.

“I am ruthless. I will ask for anything. I will ask absolutely for anything. I ask people all the time in a particular situation—at the airport—I ask people to help me with my baggage. I see a nice man next to me and I ask, “Do you mind helping me?” Sometimes men get up and they help me and sometimes I say, “Would you mind helping me?” Nine times out of ten they are very happy to help.

“To ask for help you have to not have a fear of being rejected. Not to feel that if people say, ‘no, I can’t’ that you’re not going to collapse inside and feel that they don’t want you. It takes a certain confidence and a certain self-esteem and a certain feeling good about yourself that you’re worthy of asking for help. That you’re worth asking for help.”

With Agapi’s asking abilities on my mind, on the first leg of my flight home from Jack’s house, I devoured his book, determined to put into practice his wisdom:

  • You get what you ask for
  • The answer is yes …but you have to ask!
  • There is a price you pay for not asking
  • She kept asking…and she got it
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get
  • Asking improves our chances of receiving by 200 percent!
  • You can ask for anything

Emboldened, on the second, three-hour leg of my flight, I had no idea I was about to test my “asking” wings when a drunken, vulgar-mouthed young man stepped over me and plopped down in the window seat next to me.

At first I thought I would simply ignore his crudeness, swearing and wild attempts to engage me in conversation, including calling me “uptight” and “baby.”

Next, I considered silently slipping a note to the flight attendant to tattle on his outlandish behavior.

But I stopped myself. I realized this was situation where I needed to ask for help. Jack was right.  There would be a price to pay for not asking — a rough and uncomfortable three hours.

So, I unbuckled my seatbelt, walked to the front of the cabin and told the flight attendant that “the man next to me is inappropriate and I need your help to remove him.”

The Captain appeared within seconds, and in very short order, installed a burly man next to the offending man and moved me to a more comfortable seat.

I’m embarrassed to say that in the past I would have been concerned about the drunken man. I wouldn’t have wanted to humiliate him by making a scene nor would I have wanted to put out anyone else by changing seats.

What I also would have feared in the past did happen. The drunken man made degoratory comments when I moved.  I didn’t care.

The burly man was able to handle the drunk with great dispatch, even telling him to sit in his seat and stop speaking.  Surprisingly, the young man complied and was mostly quiet (and snoring) the rest of the trip.

Usually when I think about asking for help it’s along the lines of making a request to build a business, asking for additional support to lighten a load, or inviting others to participate to expand opportunity.

But, sometimes, asking for help means to simply keep yourself safe and out of harm’s way.

Please join me this week in a challenge to ask for help at least once each day this week. Share your courage and success so we can cheer you on in the comment section of our blog.

Thank you for being a part of this amazing community — and welcome to our more than 100 new readers of this week’s SPARK! We are thrilled you’ve joined us.

Now, go ask for help for something that will enrich your life! :-)

Love,

  • Michelle

    I love the whole idea about asking for help. Just the other month my leadership blog was on this topic too. http://easttenthgroup.com/2014/02/showing-manager-asking-help/ Thanks Debbie for sharing your own experience and encouraging us to reach out and ask – it is truly so empowering.

  • Meredith

    Today I asked for help with some copy-writing. I had been going over and over a specific headline for a new project and kept coming up empty handed. I decided to ask someone (who I knew was busy) if they would be willing to take a quick look. Normally I would tough it out and work through it until the answer appeared. But I took the risk and I found that they were more than happy to take a peek, give some feedback and to my surprise got back to me within 30 min.! A second pair of eyes always does the trick and I would probably still be mulling over the copy if I hadn’t asked for help.