Asking for Help


She was a scientist who had developed a water testing kit that she said was more accurate than any on the market and tested for a bacteria that was prevalent.  She had had her results validated and knew she had something worthwhile and was excited about the possibilities.

Then she told the audience of SCORE counselors that her counselors kept telling her to go out and market it but she said she wasn’t ready.  There was more research to be done and another kit to develop.  At the end of her presentation she promised her counselors that the next step was marketing.  Will she follow through?

A client of mine who is a graphic artist this week hesitated when I asked her if she had spoken to the two people she said she was planning to talk to so she could get some ideas about where her talents fit in the work world.  She did have a conversation with her art professor (1 of the 2) and he was very helpful but now based on his suggestion she needed to get some of her portfolio online, so she could point the people to whom she speaks to the website.

I suggested she could put a few things up there and still have time to talk to someone about her work and what kind of job she was looking for.  Will she get to talking with someone else?

Another client has a business that he can see is not going to succeed because of the current political environment.  He knows he needs to get out and talk to people to learn about jobs that would be available to him when he closes his business.  When I asked him about the people he intended to talk he told me he got busy with a business project he is working on and didn’t have time this week.

What do these 3 people have in common?  They are in their comfort zone when they are doing the work they love, and they are reluctant to interrupt themselves to talk to people who could help them find work or business.  Each is ignoring any sense urgency they may feel about finding work.  Instead they find other things to do to take up the time.  They are not aware they are stalling.

A business owner once told me jokingly that her house was the cleanest ever when she first started her business and was working at home.  She realized it was her way of avoiding marketing her business. She chose cleaning over marketing!!

In my practice I find that most people do not like to ask others for help.  Once when I asked a client how he felt when someone called him for help, he told me he was happy to help and enjoyed it.  It is my experience that most people are happy to help if they can.

What got in the way for me is my independence.  I always want to do everything by myself.  In business that is impossible.  You must interact with others to sell your product or service if you are in business and if you are working for someone else you must interact with other workers and team members to get the work done.

How do you get beyond the anxiety you feel when you know you need to call people to ask for help in looking for work or selling a product?   Maybe just knowing that you are not alone with this problem will help.  You also must be aware of what your stalling tactics are.  Cleaning the house?!  More research?  Getting a portfolio online (how much is enough?)?

One way is to be aware of your avoidance, think about your goal and then be mindful of the steps you need to take to get to that goal.  Ask yourself how important is it to you to get to your goal?  Get in touch with the desire you have for success so that you will do whatever is necessary to reach that goal.

Still having difficulty?  Hire a coach to help you.  First being accountable to someone else can help you to move faster and second a coach can help you get to the underlying cause of your difficulty with moving forward. If you love the work you do but aren’t able to make a living doing it, you may be happy with the work but not happy at work.

You can reach me by email at or on my cell phone at 617-240-5353.


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