I was in crunch mode, for sure. I had a busy day at a writing workshop and needed to eliminate distractions and other priorities from taking center stage. At the same time, we had family visitors coming in that evening for a weekend visit and there was still much to do. I had to do it….there was no choice…I humbly asked my husband if he could please prepare the guest room. I needed the help, and to my delighted surprise, he agreed to do it.
When was the last time you really needed help but didn’t ask anyone for it?
In our society, many believe that you must go it alone and not ask for assistance. Or, that it would be faster to do it yourself rather than to train someone else to help. You may also consider that asking for help would reveal a sign of weakness or vulnerability. It can be uncomfortable to show that side of yourself. If I ask for help, then it will look like I can’t handle the job or don’t know my stuff, right? At the office, you’re assigned multiple projects or work assignments that aren’t familiar to you, and instead of asking for support, you tough it out. This can increase a lot of unnecessary stress.
Or, have you ever taken on something really big in your personal life…say organizing the holidays or maybe planning a celebration? You realize as you get into it, that you are overdoing but, since you didn’t ask for the help you needed, you find yourself in exhaustion and overwhelm.
Well, as Dr. Phil would ask, “How’s that working for ya?”
Help is not a bad word…you’re just not used to asking for it upfront. Many times, once you’ve exhausted all solutions, then you ask for help. Well, what if you asked for it before you get into the depths of overwhelm?
Here are a few ways to begin looking at how asking for help can really help you.
- Start with an honest and realistic assessment of the areas where you need some assistance. Where are you trying to do too much on your own? You may be surprised, as I was where help can come from if you only ask.
- Learn the art of delegation. Oh, I could write a whole book on this. Delegation is really a gift to others. You allow others to learn something new or take on greater responsibility. Delegation can be a growth or developmental experience for others and it gets more off of your plate as well.
- Asking for help can build greater trust and teamwork. It will mean so much to the person you’re asking that you trusted them to assist.
- Learn to say NO! (Another book I could write). This action can really help free you up to tackle so many other priorities. One of my favorite phrases that I like to share is when you receive a request, say “Probably not, but if I can do it, I’ll get back to you.” That has helped me many times not to take on just one more thing.
- Take a look at learning opportunities for yourself and give yourself some time to travel that learning curve. As a former technical person, I did some of my best work when I could ask colleagues to review my code or help me to see a problem solution differently. This technique always worked. A fresh set of eyes can find things that you just can’t on your own. Collaborative work areas are perfect for this.
- Understand and accept that you are not “Superman/woman” who has to do all of these things on your own. If your boss is overloading you, it’s because you are a person who gets things done but considers at what cost and whether or not it’s time to honestly assess the situation, reprioritize tasks with your boss, and ask for help.
- Consider professionals. Whatever you need, there’s someone out there to help. As a career/executive coach, I work with my clients to find concrete solutions to overwhelm and prioritized.
- At home, if you’re not a handyman/woman, stop trying to be one! There are professionals out there that can help, and yes you do spend money, but consider the time and aggravation you are spending on your own and make the call.
- Find someone to practice with! A trusted friend or family member can be great at giving you feedback as you master asking for help!
Is it time to ask for some help? Take some time this week to consider where you could use some assistance and reach out using one of the techniques above, or your own.
Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.
For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com