Friday, February 06, 2009

It doesn't hurt to ask

I'll admit, I've always had a hard time asking for help. I'm not sure if it's just stubborn independence, or (as some have told me) some kind of pride, but I feel that I have to try to do things on my own. It's good to work hard, but I started to realize that doing it all myself really limits what I can accomplish. I can't possibly have all the answers, right?

I started my year off by doing something completely against my nature, and that was asking for help with my business. I hired a business consultant because I needed help with my focus and direction. I had questions and didn't have a clue where to start. I hired Donna Maria Coles Johnson, the head of Indie Beauty Network and an expert on balancing entrepreneurship with home life. This was the best hour I've spent on my business this year, providing me with a plan that I can implement in the coming months. If I'd tried to come up with these answers on my own, I'd still be floundering. What a great reminder of how much you gain by asking for help!

A friend of mine is having financial problems and recently turned to me for help. We looked over her bills, pulled her credit report, and found some things that she could change. One of her credit cards had been increasing their interest rate to an astronomical level, resulting in a minimum payment that was quickly surpassing her budget. She had contacted them about lowering the rate with no success, and felt discouraged about asking again. I encouraged her to keep trying, and earlier this week we called again. We explained her situation and asked for the representative's help in coming up with a solution. Without any question, they lowered her interest rate by more than 40%, which will amount to thousands of dollars in savings. Another reminder of what can happen when you ask for help! (Check your credit card statements immediately and talk with them about lowering your rate, too--this was incredibly easy and makes such a difference!)

I've been reading so many sad stories lately about families who lose their jobs or homes and then take drastic action because they don't know what to do or where to turn. Why is it so hard for people to find the help they need--or to ask for it when it is available? What do you think? Do you have a hard time asking for help, too? What happens when you do ask for help? Please share your comments below!

3 comments:

  1. In our society personal difficulties, finances or drugs e.g., are more than not seen as a moral weakness, not as the fickleness or fate of just living. We are a very vicious moralistic judgmental society.

    Once I sought help for a friend's drug abuse. Was told it was more a police issue than a health issue. Next thing I knew a local narc wanted to "talk" to me.

    Ask for help in this society?

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  2. PJ, I think that's often true, and I think the tendency is for people to stop looking if their first experience is negative. I'd like to think that there are often other options, though. Maybe I'm just being naive!

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  3. Don't know if it's you being naive, or me being too skeptical. Or even cynical these days. But on balance, I'd urge people to listen to your suggestion 'n advice here, and avoid my bucket of cold water.

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