How to Admit You Need Help

“I just won’t ask her to help me. It is not what I do,” he said.

This came from an entrepreneur friend who is in the service business. He is known in his community for having the biggest heart of anyone you will ever meet. He loves people and will do anything he can to help them.

So when he was starting a new business, I asked him how he was going to get those critical first customers. I assumed he would go back to the executives he had helped the most. I was wrong.

Bear one another’s burdens

“I help people because that’s what I do. I don’t help them so they will then owe me. I help them without expectation,” he explained.

“But is that how God intended for communities to work? Aren’t we supposed to share our needs and help each other?” I asked.

“I don’t know if that is how God wants it to work, but that’s the way I work,” he answered.

As the conversation continued, I realized he does believe that’s how God intended it to work. He just doesn’t want to ask for help.

“I should not have to ask. They should see my need and then help me,” he said.

The heart of a true servant

“Most people don’t have the eyes you have. Maybe they are not servants at heart. You are. They are probably willing to help, but they are not aware of your needs. Without this awareness, you’ll not even be on their minds,” I said.

“Assume people want to help instead of being disappointed that they don’t. Help them help you by telling them, ‘I need help.’”

Here are some steps to asking for help. These happen to be in the Bible. (See Genesis 40:12-15.)

Admit to yourself you need help

Every so often, at the end of a meeting, I’ll have an entrepreneur say to me, “I appreciate the time you spent with me and the advice you’ve given. How can I help you?”

Every time I am asked this, I am so stunned I don’t have an answer. Am I a man who doesn’t need help?

I should have a higher awareness of the assistance I need. I must be ready to answer this question. Sharing my needs with others makes for healthier relationships.

Determine if the person you helped can help you

I’ll share my needs with my wife, but when it comes to business, she can’t help. If she is the only person I share with, then it comes off as complaining. What good is that? It frustrates Kathy and does me no good at all.

Knowing my needs, I should be prepared to share them with an entrepreneur. If after helping him, I determine he might be able to help me, then I should share my needs with him Maybe he knows someone who can help. It’s the time ask.

Tell them how they can help

All my friend had to say to the people he’d helped was, “If you need a resource in this area, please call me. I need the help.”

There is a lot going on in all of our lives. Unless I am asked specifically how I can help, I will not devote the time to doing anything.

I recently had a friend call who was looking for a better job. Yes, he is employed, but after ten years, his career path is blocked. Time to move on. We talked about his career aspirations, and he told me the kinds of companies for which he would be most effective.

Then he asked, “Do you know any companies like this? Maybe you can connect me to their CEOs.” Given this specific ask, I was faced with a decision. Would I help or not?

Tell them why you need the help

It is one thing to have a need. It is quite another to connect it to emotion.

Just yesterday I went to visit an entrepreneur. As I walked into his office, he was reading an email from an employee who said his wife and son were in a car accident. The car was totaled. It appeared his wife and two-year-old son were okay. They were not sure of the unborn baby being carried by his wife.

This spoke to me immediately. I saw the need for us to pray. We prayed right after we met, and I prayed this morning for this young couple and their children. It was the emotional connection which kept their need top of mind.

My experience is people want to help. They just don’t know how to help. Help them help you.

A final note

Just before I published this article, I got a call from a nonprofit I support. They thanked me for my support and then asked, “How can our team pray for you?” This time I was ready with an answer.

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2 thoughts on “How to Admit You Need Help

  1. Good post. Most entrepreneurs have a strong self-sufficiency streak that keeps them from getting to what Covey identifies as his 7th habit – synergy. He says we need to get to a place of interdependence with one another. And discovery requires asking. Interestingly, I just wrote about the same issue today on my blog: http://www.sethbarnes.com/

  2. I had started a business and I lost it when I was reborn with a new purpose. Not only that I lost everything I had and I was homeless. Even though I had an inner joy, I still needed basic things. I was asked to go back to India, even though I wanted to stay back. I did ask for help from churches and temples; and got turned away. I did call few people and most of them told me NOT to call them again. After few such rejections, I didn’t call anyone.

    What I have learnt the hard way, no matter how wise you are, how capable you are no one would help you with a job when you need it the most. No Bank lend you the money when you really need it. No investor will invest in you, until you have customers, a proven product and a great team.

    I might say I might need money to visit Atlanta..but that is NOT a need. I might say I need money to see a dentist; perhaps that is NOT a need either. I need a car, but again that is NOT a need. I might need a place to stay, again that is NOT a need as I have a roof over my head. I might say I needed to be with people to pray and have a Thanksgiving Supper, but again that was NOT a need, as I was forced to fast and that is also one way to be Thankful.

    I must say I have a perspective in life, I do not NEED anything. I am grateful for the holy spirit that guides me when the world turns away from me. I enjoyed more when a poor lady in India offered me little food as she thought I might be hungry and I realized later that she can only afford one meal per day.

    I perhaps NEED a platform to spread the message of love and goodwill and an opportunity where I can solve some of the challenges faced by this country and the world. But I understand that everything happens at God’s will and at His time.

    When I