What are your thoughts on asking for help? Not emergency I-am-having-a-heart-attack kind of help, mind you. I’m talking about asking for help in a workplace or professional situation.
Confession – I totally suck at it.
I wasn’t always this way. Somewhere along the line, I began to get fixated on doing it all and doing it all PERFECTLY. There is something about being a working mom that created this pressure to “do it all” for me.
I couldn’t just climb the corporate ladder, I had to volunteer for leadership roles on professional associations. I couldn’t just refine my professional abilities, I had to master the skills and teach lectures on the subject. And on and on…
You can probably guess where this tale is going, right? Straight into the town of Stressville, USA.
Asking for assistance has always seemed to me like an indicator of being vulnerable, weak or incompetent. I might as well hold up a big sign that says “I CAN’T HANDLE IT.” I’d almost rather sit on a project for weeks rather than ask for assistance.
Sound familiar to anyone?
I recently learned a valuable lesson on this topic.
I was serving in a volunteer role and in charge of a large event in the community. Work deadlines were looming and my teenager’s needs were adding to the list of “to-dos.” I found myself drowning in responsibilities and refusing to ask coworkers or colleagues for help.
One day I caved. I just reached the point of desperation. I called up a colleague and
begged asked for help on the event. It was a humbling moment for me because not only did I ask for help, but I asked for help on something that should have already been completed. I admitted to being behind the deadline and begged her to pick up my slack.
You know what happened?
The sky didn’t fall. The earth didn’t shatter. My professional reputation didn’t plummet. Instead, she gladly stepped in and finished the outreach I couldn’t get to. She nailed it in less than an hour without attitude, accusation or judgment.
As you can imagine, I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. It was so life-changing that I became a little angry at myself for being so stubborn in the past. Why did I feel like I had to always do it all myself?!
I’ve spoken with other working moms that I know and I’ve come across so many others that suffer from the same hesitation. It seems I’m not as alone as I thought I was.
So in an effort to help anyone else who feels this way, I found this great article on the subject that asserts that asking for help is not a weakness but conversely, a strength.
Our fear is what gets in the way. Fear of over-stepping a friendship. Fear of appearing too needy. Fear of imposing. Fear of revealing our struggle and having people realize we don’t have it all together after all.
If you have a few moments, I highly recommend giving this video a watch. It’s pretty good!