Last week I introduced the first of “Six Phrases You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Say” – here is #2…

I Need Help

“Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.” – Ric Ocasek

Women’s lib was in full swing during my childhood and teen years. I was captivated by it. While one of my grandmothers still towed the party line from the 1950s – “Grow up, get married, have babies” I was also hearing, “You don’t need a man. A woman is strong, she is capable, she can do anything!” One of my first jobs as a teenager was in a mail distribution warehouse. When I ran out of supplies I would go into the warehouse to get a new box. My supervisor would tell me, “You don’t need to do that. I’ll get it for you.” It was old-fashioned and sweet. I took pride in not taking him up on his offer and continue to lug my own boxes around.

I have remained independent ever since – and it has served me well most of the time. Independence, providing yourself with what you need without anyone else’s help is invaluable. But another important trait includes knowing when to ask for help. During a particularly trying time in my life, about fifteen years back, I learned to ask for and accept help. The help I received in response kept me from starving. It help gave me a bed to sleep in and pots to cook in and even food to put in those pots…quite literally.

I have been stopped as I walked to the bus stop and handed a coat for my daughter to wear when she didn’t have one. I have been handed a $5 bill, even a ten or a twenty, and asked to simply pay it forward to someone else when the opportunity presented itself.

You don’t have to be down and out to ask for help. You don’t have to feel desperate or out of options. You may need help clarifying a point made in class, or you may need to ask for additional training to truly understand your job or a project you have been assigned. Presenting others with the opportunity to help builds your character and experience just as much as it does theirs.

Next week…“I Don’t Understand”