person holding sign asking for help

Episode Description

How to ask for help

We all know that one person who refuses to ask for help. Either they feel bad being a burden to others or they want to do everything themselves because they don’t trust others to do as good of a job. Even when the world is crumbling down on them, they hold all the weight on their own shoulders. If you are someone like this, or you know someone like this, this podcast episode is all about how to ask for help.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. Today is Fridays with Ferne and I'd like to welcome my daughter Ferne to the podcast with me today.

[00:00:18] Ferne Kotlyar: Hello, hello!

[00:00:20] Kim Ades: How's it going?

[00:00:22] Ferne Kotlyar: Great! Great. I'm really happy with the weather. It's very nice and the city is lovely at this time of year.

[00:00:30] Kim Ades: You're in Montreal.

[00:00:31] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.

[00:00:33] Kim Ades: So Montreal is a French speaking place. How's your French lately?

[00:00:37] Ferne Kotlyar: [Speaks in French]

[00:00:41] Kim Ades: Wow! Look at you. Even your accent's getting better.

[00:00:45] Ferne Kotlyar: Merci bien.

[00:00:48] Kim Ades: So Ferne went to French school here in Toronto, but their French lessons aren't... They're more anglophone French, and now she is dating a French guy from France, so her accent is improving. Okay, so what are we talking about today?

[00:01:09] Ferne Kotlyar: So today we have another little case study. Again, it's a bit more general than a specific case, but I will jump right in. So this is the type of person that is uncomfortable asking for help. So they want to accomplish everything themselves, even when it feels like the world is crumbling down on them and they have a huge burden, they don't feel comfortable asking for help and they just want to accomplish it themselves. What advice would you have for that kind of person?

[00:01:44] Kim Ades: So I know a lot of people like that. A lot of people run companies and those people aren't so comfortable asking for help. Isn't that shocking?

[00:01:53] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles]

[00:01:53] Kim Ades: And what we find is that people who are not comfortable asking for help have a series of beliefs around the concept of asking for help, and those beliefs generally clash with their goals. So what we do when we work with people like that is we ask them to journal, and through the journaling process, we uncover some core values, some core beliefs that are really actually standing in the way of their success, their happiness, their ability to thrive.

So let me give you some examples. Some people who don't like to ask for help believe that if they ask for help, it means that they are incapable, that they are not smart enough, they're not able enough, that they are weak, that they fall short somehow. And if you believe that about yourself, would you ask for help? I wouldn't. Right?

And so when I ask for help, it means that I am not good enough. So that belief fundamentally clashes with their ability to grow their business or to thrive, because nobody can grow business on their own, right? We need to ask for help.

The second thing is, or here are some other beliefs that might interfere. Could be "I can do it better. I can do it faster. It's so much more efficient if I just do it myself" and those are another set of beliefs that might not enable a person to ask for help. But what we see is, and this is just kind of skimming the surface, is that what people believe to be true will determine the actions they take and the actions they don't take.

In the case of asking for help, people don't feel comfortable perhaps because they don't wanna put someone out, they don't wanna impose on someone, they don't want to ask for something that someone else might not feel comfortable in delivering. And so they stay quiet or they stay small because they're afraid to ask.

Another person might not ask for help because they're afraid of the rejection, they're afraid to be told "no". And so what we see is that asking for help or not asking for help stems from a set of beliefs, and those beliefs will determine whether or not a person takes action around asking for help or not.

But what we do see, and this is very, very important to think about, is that extraordinary leaders leverage their resources. It's one of the key thinking strategies that they engage in consistently across all industries. So what does that mean? For them, they think that any resource is accessible to them, that includes asking for help. And there is never a shortage of resource.

So they don't think that way. They think there's no shortage of time, there's no shortage of talent, there's no shortage of money, there's no shortage of any kind of resource that I might need or want access to. All I need to do is determine the resource I need and then go and find it.

And so these extraordinary leaders, they're not only not uncomfortable asking for help, they understand that asking for help is, in a way, their key success factor. It's the way that they get to success because they understand that there's only so much human capacity they have, and that to get somewhere faster it becomes a lot more practical, a lot more efficient to get other people, helping you open doors, row with you, get to where you need to go with greater speed and agility.

So asking for help is definitely one of the top thinking strategies of extraordinary leaders. And so, you know, we have to look at the discomfort that people have in asking for help and ask ourselves what beliefs are driving that discomfort.

[00:05:59] Ferne Kotlyar: And what happens when it comes to personal issues? So I understand with respect to a business, if you wanna grow, you're gonna need more people, you're gonna need external resources, you're gonna need things that aren't just yourself to become extraordinary.

But what about personal matters? Like, you know, you have a kid, you have a job, you have a million things on your plate and you're not getting enough sleep, and you just want, let's say, a babysitter, but you should be able to take care of all these things by yourself.

[00:06:35] Kim Ades: Really?

[00:06:36] Ferne Kotlyar: You should, right? That's the idea of like, that's what's stopping somebody, but I guess I'm asking how this applies to a personal situation rather than a business.

[00:06:46] Kim Ades: Yeah. So again, there are a certain set of beliefs that step in the way, right? You just mentioned one. "I should be able to do this on my own. I shouldn't have to ask for help. I shouldn't need help. If I were smart enough, well put together enough, I wouldn't need to ask for help". And so those are a set of beliefs and those beliefs ultimately just limit us, they just get in the way, they just interfere with our ability to thrive, even on a personal level.

But let's look on a personal level. Just the same way as we know that in business, we become wealthy or we grow our business by accessing resources, in our personal lives we also increase our wealth by increasing our community and our network. And how do we increase our network? How do we do that?

How do we do that? Is by letting people in, is by inviting them to participate in some of the challenges we have and sharing those with others. And so if we isolate ourselves and we say, "no, we have it all together. I never need help. I got this perfect life going on", what happens is we prevent people from stepping into our lives and participating and helping us out, lifting up some of the weight some of the times.

But let's even get a little less complicated. Let's just say you have people over for dinner. You invite people over for dinner, you've prepared a lovely dinner, and after dinner they say, "hey, can I do anything to help?" Oftentimes we say, "no, no, no, you're the guest. You sit down, you. You're my guest I'll take care of everything" because we have a belief that guests shouldn't be working.

Guests shouldn't be helping out, but what do we do? We're in the kitchen, working there at the dinner table waiting. And what we do is we end up creating a moment of discomfort. It's awkward, right? And what we're certainly not doing is leveraging the opportunity to bring someone in, to welcome them truly in our home and participate in the ongoings of the house.

So when I have a guest over and they say, "can I help?" I say "yes, please put this food in this Tupperware", and that keeps them busy, that keeps them engaged, that keeps them feeling helpful, and it helps you and it lightens the load and it makes things more fun and easier going and helps you get back to the table for dessert faster. Right?

So, we think of the idea, we think about asking for help in a way that contradicts our goals a lot of the time. Why did we invite them over for dinner to begin with? To connect, to have a good time, to enjoy spending time together, to bring them into our world, into our homes, into our families.

And then we say, "no, no, no, you sit over there. You can't cross the threshold of the kitchen", and I encourage people to think about it differently. Sometimes asking for help is a gift to the person you're asking help from, because that gives them an opportunity to participate, to contribute, to be valuable in some way that is meaningful to you. That creates connection.

So asking for help in business? You can't grow a business by yourself, right? You just can't. So you need to ask for help, you need to figure out how to leverage your resources. And at home, certainly it makes life easier, but it also serves the purpose of creating a connection with others, when you ask others for help.

[00:10:20] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, absolutely. I really appreciate that concept. I know that when I go to somebody else's house, particularly if it's somebody new and you're not super comfortable with yet, when you're sitting there kind of waiting for them to finish and clean up, you feel super uncomfortable because you don't know what you're supposed to do.

Like, am I being impolite? Am I like, what-- what am I supposed to do? So if they give you a task, then I think it's a lot easier to feel more comfortable and to feel like you have a place and, to not necessarily even need awkward conversation, because you're doing something, and that doing something together facilitates a relationship, talking isn't the only way to build a connection.

[00:11:03] Kim Ades: Right. And sometimes when you are in the kitchen and you are doing the dishes or filling up the Tupperware containers or whatever it is that they're asking you to do, that's when the less formal piece of the relationship starts to build. That's when the real synaptic intersection starts to take place.

That's when the friendship starts to really build at a whole other level, because if you let someone into your kitchen, you let someone into your life. Right? And so it changes the game and it, I think, ups the level of potential intimacy. So let people in your kitchen! Let them help! Right? Give them an apron. Say "here, try this dish".

[00:11:50] Ferne Kotlyar: Let them even into your dishwasher.

[00:11:53] Kim Ades: Even into your dishwasher. Ferne's alluding to this very incredible thing that has taken place in my life. When I met Allan and we went over to his parents' house for dinner, his mother is the type of person who is not comfortable asking for help, but I got up and started to help anyways.

And I am the only other person in her whole life that she allows to stack the dishwasher, to load the dishwasher. I'm the only other person, because what I did was I stood beside her and I said, "teach me exactly how you do it and I will follow exactly your instructions". So it's the greatest honor to load her dishwasher. And every Thursday night, when we go there for dinner, I am the only one who's allowed to load the dishwasher. It's an honor.

[00:12:45] Ferne Kotlyar: A very high honor, yeah. [Laughs]

[00:12:47] Kim Ades: Right? But what it does, actually, what that action has done for us over the years. I mean, now it's been a long time, but at the time it cracked open the possibility for intimacy early on in the relationship. And I will say I have an extraordinary relationship with my mother-in-law. We are very, very good friends.

[00:13:10] Ferne Kotlyar: It's a very good place.

[00:13:13] Kim Ades: So good, great conversation. Fun. I know it took a weird turn...

[00:13:18] Ferne Kotlyar: [Laughs]

[00:13:18] Kim Ades: ...In terms of doing dishes and helping out in the kitchen, but offer help too. Don't be afraid to offer help.

[00:13:25] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah.

[00:13:26] Kim Ades: All right, for those of you who are listening, I hope that you got something fun from today's episode. If you have a challenge or a subject you would like us to discuss on the podcast, please reach out to me or Ferne. I can be reached--

[00:13:43] Ferne Kotlyar: Don't be...

[00:13:43] Kim Ades: Don't be shy.

[00:13:43] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, don't be afraid to ask.

[00:13:45] Kim Ades: Don't be afraid to ask for help. Reach me. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Ferne, how do they reach you?

[00:13:55] Ferne Kotlyar: My email address is Fernekotlyar@live.com.

[00:14:01] Kim Ades: That's easy. And we hope to hear from you and please like, please share, please spread the word about our podcast. We definitely want to get more ears tuned in. We will see you next week. Have a great week everyone!

[00:14:17] Ferne Kotlyar: Bye!