Photo by Felipe Luiz

We live in a society that touts the positive aspects of individualism. Work hard, pay your own way, and be proud of your individual achievements. There’s nothing wrong with that mindset, except it isn’t how people truly achieve success. Most of us give and receive a lot of support on our way to overcoming adversity and accomplishing goals. This is particularly true when it comes to the toughest challenges in our lives.

I have first hand experience when it comes to asking for support. I am about to reach my second year of sobriety. Two years ago, I was actively abusing alcohol, drinking until I blacked out multiple times a week, and living a life that was anything but happy and productive. That’s all changed, but only because I was able to ask for support.

Where Do You Need Support?
The biggest obstacle in asking for support, is convincing yourself you need it. Take a look at your life. Are there areas you feel stuck? Are there problems you face that seem insurmountable? Are there things you’d like to get involved in, but don’t know how to start? You might benefit from having support in these areas.

Where To Find Support?
Support exists at various levels in multiple formats. One low-effort way is to read a book, website, or magazine related to the topic you need support. This will give you a static form of support. I advocate moving beyond this and finding a way to have interactive support. You can find this in the form of virtual or in-person. You might find a counselor or coach who can provide support and be a cheerleader. You might join an online or in-person support group such as AA or Weight Watchers. You can also ask your friends and family for support. Saying you need support isn’t a sign of weakness. You will be pleasantly surprised at how most people light up at the opportunity to become useful and help a fellow human.

How To Ask For Support
Asking for support opens the floodgate of relief. Your method of asking is dependent of how you plan to receive support. You can purchase a book or check one out from the library–this is proactively seeking support. You can speak to a counselor or self-help group about what you need. You can tell your friends and family what your goals are. The critical piece is that you are clear about the support you need. Most people cannot read deeper into the words you use. If you are not clear that you are asking for support, and what exactly support will look like, you cannot expect those you are asking to guess.

How To Receive Support
Be grateful in how you receive support. Thank the person or group providing you with support. If you read a book and it provides you the support you need, email the author to let them know.

Giving Back
Once you receive support, you should look for opportunities to give back. I’ve given back for the support I’ve received in the form of writing articles and giving talks to raising awareness of issues related to alcohol. How can you give back? Look for opportunities to provide support to the loved ones in your life. Everyone benefits when we reach out and help each other.

At Conscious, we feature powerful stories about global initiatives, innovation, community development, social impact and more. You can read more stories like this and connect with a growing community of global leaders when you join.