Why is it so hard to ask for help?
I really don’t enjoy asking for help – and I am not alone. Many people prefer to struggle on, even to risk failure, rather than seek assistance from friends and colleagues.
Why is it so difficult? People like to help, it makes them feel good. In fact I like to help other people but I still don’t always give them the opportunity to help me. Over the last couple of years a health problem has deprived me of a driving licence. I have travelled the county by bus and on foot. Every Tuesday afternoon I have to travel to a town 12 miles away, this would be a 20 minute car journey but it takes me an hour and a half on two buses. Why don’t I just ask friends for a lift?
According to Taibi Kahler (1975) it is because I (and many others) have a “be strong driver.” Kahler identified that most of us are motivated in our behaviours by one or more of five central drivers; be strong, be perfect, please others, try hard and hurry up (more on these other drivers in future blogs) and they form a central tenet of Transactional Analysis.
Drivers are considered to be an aspect of personality and are believed to stem from messages received in childhood. People with a “be strong driver” may have heard messages such as “you can do it, go on, you don’t need help” as they learned new skills. Supportive parents, who encourage independent children, tend to raise independent adults. And it is important to note that drivers are not inherently bad. A drive to be strong is a great motivator, it fosters independence, resilience in the face of adversity and a desire and ability to get things done. These are all things that I value about myself. These are all things I would not change.
However, there is a theory (supported by a number of psychologists) that a weakness is simply an over-used strength. This is a prime example of that theory. For some reason we haven’t all learned when to turn “be strong” off and so we continue to be wilfully independent beyond the point at which it becomes unhelpful.
By this reasoning, the ability to be strong is both my strength and, when taken too far, my weakness.
If Yellow Dot Women is to be a success I will need to put on my warrior face and be strong, I will need to be independent and I will need to just get things done. However, I will also need help.
This week I resolve to contact some people who can help me with my business, people whose advice I appreciate, whose counsel I respect, people who have skills and knowledge that I might need along the way.
What about you? What help are you going to ask for this week?