Will people think I am weak if I ask for help? Will I expose myself for the things I don’t know? Will they judge me? I am too proud to ask for help. I am too smart to ask for help. I am too good. These and many others may be things you tell yourself when you are stuck. Why is it that we are afraid to ask for help?

As I was working on my dissertation, I was stuck. Big time stuck. I did ask for help, but I was not asking the right people or the right questions. I was asking people who could not help me. Why was I asking them? Because the people who could help me were in authority positions over me and I did not want to show my weaknesses. I hate not knowing how to do something and being vulnerable is extremely challenging for me. Finally I got to my breaking point–the point where I was about to give up–before I asked the correct people for help. They gave me the support I needed, quickly and without judgment. They provided me with the tools and guidance I needed to get it done. And of course, the dissertation is done and on its way to becoming a book.

Why didn’t I ask for help sooner? Why did I let my pride get in the way of asking for the help I needed? I am better than this. Asking for help is not a bad thing. It shows that you’re open to learning and that you’re willing to seek assistance when you need it. This is probably the longest and biggest mistake I made when it came to not asking for help. I encourage you: when you’re stuck, ask for help. The majority of people will jump right in to help you. Most people want others to succeed, and they will be proud to know that they were there to help.

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