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Why is it that most of us tend not to ask for help? I had a conversation with a friend about this last week. He was telling me that he had offered help to his recently graduated daughter, but she turned him down; she wanted to do it herself.

A few days later, I had a similar conversation with someone else who had the same problem—he, too, was turned down by his daughter.

With full disclosure, when I graduated college I would have probably done the same thing—only because I knew best. Older and wiser now, I realize that might have been a mistake. As a recent college graduate ready to take on the world, I viewed asking for help a sign of weakness.

Having built J2 on referrals, I truly appreciate the value of both giving and accepting help.

Most people are more likely to offer help than to receive it. Why is that the case? What are we afraid of? Is it because asking for help makes us feel deficient in some way—incapable or even needy? Maybe accepting help feels like we’re giving up control. There are a number of reasons why we don’t ask for help—but by not asking, we unintentionally delay whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish. This only serves to make matters worse. By not asking for help, a small nuisance could potentially escalate to critical problems, all because our egos got in the way.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness—and its benefits cannot be underestimated: it fosters better collaboration and communication, exposes us to different perspectives and even opens us up to new opportunities to learn.

I have found that most people genuinely want to help. Don’t take that privilege away from them. Give them the gift of letting them help.

A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone. His father came along just then. Noting the boy’s failure, he asked, “Are you using all your strength?” “Yes, I am,” the little boy said impatiently. “No, you are not,” the father answered. “I am right here just waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help you.” – Anonymous

How can I help you?