A Valuable Lesson from Real Stories: Ask for Help When You Need It

Recently, I attended a women’s networking event where the guest speaker was Jessica Rowe. She told us how she moved through her career and touched on her personal experience with depression. Here’s a short version of the story.

Jessica’s mother suffered from depression, and as a child she would watch her go in and out of the hospital on many occasions. Years later, she became an advocate of BeyondBlue, helping people cope with depression. She had no idea she would ever need the same help after she had her first daughter.

While she knew from training and experience that she was suffering from Postnatal Depression, she was in denial. She couldn’t admit the fact that she needed help. She didn’t follow good advice and ignored everything that she was teaching others at BeyondBlue. She knew that she had to reach out, share her story and get help to get better yet it took her awhile to seek treatment for her condition.

And it made me think about how we all know the way we should do things (or what we shouldn’t do), but don’t act on it.

For example, you are aware that something is wrong with your business and you recognise that you should be doing something differently. But it’s the way you’ve always done things and you don’t want to step outside your comfort zone. You are scared of change.

And what if you make the change and then things still don’t work well? Isn’t this fear of failure?

Sometimes, you sense that something is not working and you honestly don’t know how to fix it. You know you can ask somebody else for advice but sometimes you find it difficult to do so. Even when things aren’t working or when you don’t know the solution to your problem, you can’t bring yourself to ask for help.

And what do we do instead? We put so much pressure on ourselves to figure things out on our own. We strive to excel at something we are not good at so we end up not being able to do as well as what we thought we could.

Which brings me to another example.

I spoke to a client who was moving to the next phase of her business while going through a marriage breakdown. So understandably, she focused on fixing her troubled marriage rather than tend to her business. To make matters worse, one of her key employees left the business so she had to replace her.

Preoccupied by marital troubles, she took her eyes off the business and during that period, the new employee started stealing from her. It took a little while before she noticed because she wasn’t there all the time. And then when she did notice, she had to work out how she was going to deal with it.

And when I spoke with her later, I told her, “What, you could have called me, I would be happy to help you.”

And she admitted that she hadn’t reached out because she was embarrassed, though she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She couldn’t admit that there was a problem in her business and she felt shy reaching out for help.

So I did take a lesson from these two stories. Even though you may know something or notice there is something wrong, you may not know how to act on it.

We forget that there is someone who can and willing to help you find a solution to your problem, get through the hard times, or get back on your feet.

It only takes courage to put your hand up and say, “Hey, I need help.”

Nobody is going to judge you when you admit that you need help. No one is going to think badly of you because you don’t know how to do something. In fact, we admire people who recognise their problem and seek out the advice and assistance that they need.

So give it some thought. See who among your network of friends and business associates you can reach out to for help on personal and business matters. Then pick up the phone, shoot off an email and just find out how you might be able to deal with a problem now and then with their support.