There’s a great feeling of accomplishment in doing something yourself. Being “self-made” is often seen as the American dream.
And so, asking for help can seem like a failure or a cheap way out. It hurts your pride to admit you can’t do it alone.
But, let me remind you…
All that is beautiful and breathtaking in this world was built on the previous work of others. Every invention, building, and scientific breakthrough required collaboration and support. There was always a previous source of inspiration to improve upon.
What you don’t always see when you think of a “self-made” individual is all the help they’ve gotten from behind the scenes. Because whether it’s for personal, career, or romantic development….
The fastest way to accelerate your growth is through mentorship.
Learning from someone who has more experience or skill and has seen what does and doesn’t work can cut off years of development time.
But first, you have to accept that asking for help is not weak and does not have to impose on other people.
When you ask someone for help — they will actually like and respect you more, not less. They’re also more likely to want to help you again in the future. This is a well-studied psychological phenomenon called the Ben Franklin effect.
Healthy relationships are all about mutual support. You shouldn’t keep score but as long as you’re excited to give back as much as you’re asking, you won’t impose on anyone.
Here are some ways successful people ask for help.
Table Of Contents
1. Get a friend with a nice camera or photography skills to take your dating pictures
Too many people say they don’t have a high-quality camera or have no idea how to take good photos. So why not ask your friend to take some pictures next time you’re out together?
You can setup a photo shoot and in turn offer them drinks, lunch, or anything else you can help with.
2. Ask strangers to take a picture of you when you’re out
This is what you usually see girls doing while against beautiful landscapes, traveling, or with friends. It’s a big reason why they often have so many great pictures online.
You don’t need to explain why you need the photo, just say, “Excuse me, would you mind taking a quick picture for me?”
3. Ask someone who’s a good writer/marketer or had a lot of successful jobs to review your resume
We tend to downplay accomplishments or not dig deep enough when showcasing ourselves. A talented 3rd party asks probing questions to get the best out of us and discover things we may have forgotten. They can also help re-word your achievements to showcase the real value and benefits of your work.
It could be the difference between getting your dream job or getting your 14th rejection letter.
4. Seek out a therapist to work on your mental health
If you’ve been unsuccessfully trying to work through trauma or process past experiences, get help from a professional. Stirring in your own head about it often isn’t an effective solution and can make things worse.
Just having a confidential listener can do wonders for your healing.
5. Ask friends to keep an eye out for anyone that might be a good fit for you
Yes, this actually works — I’ve had multiple friends meet people this way. If you have a female or male friend who genuinely cares about you, they want you to be happy and find someone great.
Vouching for you to someone that trusts their opinion is powerful. That person is much more likely to give it a real shot with you.
6. Ask a friend who talks to women to help you out
Going up to a new woman by yourself can be terrifying. Doing it with a confident friend or having them push you makes all the difference. You know that you have support and can always go back to having fun together if that one interaction doesn’t work out.
My social skills really took off when I found a few good friends to go out with. I learned a tremendous amount from watching them and I got useful feedback on my conversations.
If I stumbled in a group dynamic, my friends could always pick up the slack. This made my social experiences less stressful, more enjoyable, and therefore kept me motivated to keep practicing.
7. Have a fashionable friend take you out shopping to improve your style
When you’re developing your sense of fashion, it’s difficult to evaluate yourself. Even now, I ask my wife and friends for their opinions on how something fits or looks on me. It’s easier to get an accurate opinion from an outside perspective.
Ask your stylish male or female friends to spend an afternoon showing you good stores, sharing their insight, and critiquing your outfits to find your specific look. In turn, take them out to a nice meal or offer to buy them an item of clothing that they showed interest in.
8. Get a friend to keep you on track for a goal
When you set a challenging goal for yourself, it’s hard to follow through without some accountability tricks and reminders. But if you relay that goal to someone you value, you know they’ll be thinking of it and checking in on you.
Because of that, you’re a lot more likely to commit to it. It’s one of the primary reasons people hire personal trainers, tutors, and coaches.
9. Join a Toastmasters or Improv group to get feedback on your speaking and presentation skills
Get on stage and have more experienced people guide you. These groups are literally designed to give clear, honest feedback and support.
This will develop your wit, sense of humor, and speaking voice while overcoming social anxiety.
10. Ask someone at your gym to spot you or critique your form
Spot them in return. This can improve your lifts and ensure you don’t get injured in the future. You can also learn new ideas for workouts and what has worked well for them.
Then you can make a gym buddy by inviting them out for a post-workout snack or beer.
11. Ask for a job referral
If you’re not at least trying to land your next job through a connection, you’re doing it wrong. There’s a lot of debate on the exact numbers but around 40-70% or more of new hires are through referrals.
Ask friends in companies you like to keep you posted if something opens up. Ask former co-workers who are now thriving elsewhere to put in a good word for you. If they trust your worth and are part of an employee referral program, they get to help out and get a bonus for themselves.
I helped my former web designer get his dream job when I coached someone from from their management. I’ve sent my freelance friends business from people I knew they could serve well. And my friend set me up with a marketer who has now become a business partner.
12. Bounce random work, home, or business ideas off knowledgeable friends in those fields
Everyone has a lot of terrible ideas — myself included. Within those are a few great ones. Sometimes you’re blinded with excitement and have a hard time gauging the validity of those ideas.
Skilled friends can help you focus on your strengths and provide fresh perspectives or tweaks you hadn’t thought about. I run new article headlines, course ideas, and coaching methods through friends and loved ones. Their insights have been invaluable and have helped me build a thriving business.
13. Ask a professor who likes you to provide a recommendation for graduate school
Again, referrals carry massive amounts of weight. If that professor is well-respected, at a good university, or writes a message clearly from the heart — it can seriously up your chances. This one request could determine the entire course of your career path.
14. Ask your parents or your best friend for support on a down payment / investment
I know this is a touchy subject for many. But if you honestly feel like you can pay them back in a timely fashion, getting 0% interest money is much better than paying high interest. Avoiding unnecessary debt is how smart people build their wealth.
16. Get a stranger online to help build your site or peer review something for you
Barter with your tutoring skills, other networking connections, Tinder picture reviews, or even offer to play an online game with them. People from Reddit designed and built the first iterations of my site and I’m still friends with them today.
17. Ask your partner for advice on a tough conversation
Maybe you want to talk to your boss about a raise. Or you want to tell your parents you don’t want kids. In those tense, high pressure situations it’s easy to get overly emotional and muddle your message.
Practicing with your partner can help you narrow your focus and find the right words. They know you on a deep level and how you tend to communicate. They can point out how to improve your approach and present your point in a more healthy, constructive way.
Having people support you leads to powerful life experiences.
Steve Jobs once said, “Most people don’t get those experiences because they never ask. I never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help.”
It’s a wonderful realization that I’ve found to be true in my own life. But maybe the best part of asking for help is realizing just how many people really care about you.