Asking for help can be difficult. Many may see this as a sign of weakness. Asking for help needs to be seen as a sign of intelligence and security. You are secure in who you are enough to know that you need to surround yourself with smarter people.

If you still feel nervous about asking for help, the first time you can go to someone you trust. They will listen and be understanding. Be sure you are clear about what it is you are looking for. Don’t waste their time or yours. You can start by saying, “I am having a problem solving this problem, I really want to get to this point but am stuck, and do you have any advice? Have you dealt with a similar situation?” You are clearly stating the problem and what you are looking to for.

Be sure that during this conversation you are not complaining or whining. We are understand that when the pressure builds we do want to vent, this is not the time. It’s fine to talk about your struggle but be sure and keep that part short. The real point of the conversation is to find answers.

You can ask to brainstorm with the person on ideas to solving the problem. Have an open dialogue, ask questions back and forth. Be sure and ask for clarification if you are not understanding the solutions being offered.

Be sure and thank the person when you are done. I often like to ask a person to coffee or lunch while we are discussing my dilemma. I will pick up the tab and at the end say thank you again for your help. I will tell them how I am going to move forward with the issue. This helps to reinforce that I was listening and have a plan.

Remember someone will come to you at some point with a problem they need a solution to, and now will be your turn help them. It may not be the same person you asked for help in the past, but this is your chance to help someone new.

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on June 18th, 2015.