Are you Back on the Market? Use this 5-Step Process to Get the Help You Need

Why doesn’t she reach out? “She’s too proud to ask for help,” was the answer. Why? I wondered. Everybody needs help.

“Nothing is more universal than the experience of stressful life events,” say the Marstons in their book, Type R: Transformative Resilience for Thriving in a Turbulent World.

So when did we decide that it was better not to show that we feel lost or embarrassed than to ask someone for advice on moving forward?

Leaning Out

If you’ve been unexpectedly terminated, you may find yourself crawling back to your safe place to regroup, which is fine, as long as you come back out. As one woman in my book recounted, “The day they let me go, I didn’t tell anyone what had just happened to me. I got into bed, fully dressed, and stayed there with my prayer beads.”

Here’s an extreme example: of being forced into the you-should-know persona: “Rachel” worked for a CEO who only wanted answers, had no time for discussion, then let her go when she “didn’t get it right.”

5-Step Process for Asking

As a fundraising leader-practitioner, I’ve been programmed to ask for help; I ask for funding for a cause. While this is different than asking for help for myself, there are some relevant techniques that can be instructive. We have a 5-part process that goes like this: Identity, qualify, cultivate, solicit, steward.

For you this translates to:

1. Identify the kind of people who can help you move forward, whether this means emotionally (therapist), professionally (mentor, coach), or personally (financial advisor).

2. Qualify the person: do your research with friends, colleagues, Google, etc. to see if their values align with yours. Will this person understand you and will you respect what they say?

3. Cultivate: Can you find someone who may be able to make the connection for you in a genuine way? Or, can you determine how you might approach this person based on their interests and background, rather than talking about yourself. “I see that you’ve been in tech ….”

4. Solicit: Ask for what you need. Be specific. It’s easier for people to respond to a clear “ask” than a vague, “I need your help.” The latter puts the burden on them to figure out what role they can play. Example: “I haven’t changed my LinkedIn profile since I was let go. Do you know someone I can hire to help me market myself on LI?”

5. Steward: It’s never a one-way conversation. It’s a give-and-take, take-and give, rinse and repeat. You’ll want to maintain the relationship. One of the best ways you can do this and return the favor of anyone’s guidance is by asking a simple question, “How can I help you in return?”

This sequence isn’t foolproof, but if you’re the kind of person who thrives with a plan, it will help.

You’ll Feel Seen

Pride, like shame, can be a silencing emotion. Believe me, we all have deep challenges throughout our lives. After a devastating job loss, you may feel like you have rust on your trust, and opening the door to let others in requires a crowbar. Take that lever and push. You’ll feel seen when the door swings open for other humans to walk toward you with their support.

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