Why Asking For Help Is Not A Sign Of Weakness

“Strong people ask for help.” As a counselor, I often teach my clients this mantra.

Person under crumpled pile of papers with hand holding a help siSo when I found myself discouraged last week, I sent an email to another WordServe author, asking for help.

An hour later we were talking on the phone. She reaffirmed how much she liked my book, she told me she would commit to praying, and she gave me a handful of marketing ideas.

That short phone call changed my day in three ways.

  1. I got an emotional release. I even cried a little.
  2. I got encouragement.
  3. I got inspired with new marketing ideas. In fact, I spent six hours the next day working on marketing ideas.

Most authors, by their nature, are Type A personalities. We are self-motivated, hard working, and perfectionist. As we seek to promote our books, it makes sense that we would try to put the best light on ourselves. But have you ever noticed how lonely driven perfectionists really are? If you’ve ever spent time watching Brene Brown’s TED talks, you understand that it’s our vulnerability and imperfections that draw others to us.

All authors need to ask for help. Here’s why:

When you ask for help usually you’ll likely find ways to reciprocate. Authors don’t know all the same people or have the same ideas. During my phone call I was able to connect my author friend with some influential people who will help expand her books’ reach.

Almost everyone loves to help. I think it’s part of the way God wired us. Think about it: if someone trips and falls, we instinctively rush towards the person in order to help. I’m pretty sure the only ones who don’t feel that pull are people who lack the ability to have empathy (sociopaths).

When people help others, they’ll be reminded of their own success. As my friend was giving me marketing ideas, it affirmed all the hard work she had done. She was able to share her success stories and tell me how proud her publisher was. Reliving your successes feels good.

Accepting help can feel like a reward for all the times you helped someone. At all times I am in the process of reading and reviewing two to five books for other authors. I know how hard I work to promote my author friends; it’s nice to be on the other side once in a while.

Asking for help can build bonds. Before last week’s phone call, I only knew the other author by name. Just one more person person from Facebook. But now, I feel like we’ve become friends.

It is actually quite arrogant to think we can help others and yet have no need to accept it in return. Is there something you’re struggling with? Why not take a risk and ask someone for help.

Can you think of a time when someone helped you on your book-publishing journey? 

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9 thoughts on “Why Asking For Help Is Not A Sign Of Weakness

  1. Amen! It’s never been lost on me that the blessing of your agents, editors and writing-friends are there for leaning. Without them, deadlines can be scary and marketing can be a hot mess! One of the many things I am thankful for this year!!

    • Yes, I agree. Some people see them as the bad guys, gate keepers, etc. but they know what works.

  2. It is very hard to ask for help. But I have had other authors snuggle up beside me and hold me under the shadow of their wing for awhile. This has been a real blessing to me.

    Thanks for the great article, Lucille.

    • Sharon, I think it’s hard for most people. We think asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s not.

  3. Lucille, it is good to receive help and it is good to give help.

    In September I was privileged to have a complimentary one-on-one session with an editor at our local library in Virginia. She suggested I shorten my blog’s post titles to just a few words. We also agreed that #writetip might better serve my desire to help others with their writing skills than my previous #amwriting #howtowritebetter on Twitter.

    My husband and I are currently in Kansas City, Missouri.Two days ago I was asked (in response to an email I sent to an author) if I could suggest a nearby library where she can give a book presentation when she comes to Kansas City with her husband for a conference in March. We are now sending emails regarding her doing so.

  4. Great post. Lucille! Sharing my struggle with another writer always helps me because it reminds me that I’m not alone and we’re connected. I like what Brene Brown says in her book about worthiness, ” … two most powerful words when it comes to empathy … ‘me, too.'”

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