What are your thoughts on asking for help? Not emergency call-911-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. I believe it started in earnest long a few years ago when I began to get fixated with doing it all and doing it all PERFECTLY.
Which, of course, was impossible.
So there I was, drowning in responsibilities and refusing to ask coworkers or board members or colleagues for help. You can probably guess where this tale is going, right?
STRAIGHT DOWN THE SPIRAL OF MEDIOCRITY.
Asking for assistance seemed to me like an indicator of being weak or incompetent. It was as if I would rather sit on a project for weeks rather than ask for assistance. (Sound familiar to anyone?)
I learned my lesson when one day I asked (okay, begged) for help on a volunteer project. Now, 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 asked my colleague to please pick up my slack.
You know what happened?
An amazing thing! She gladly stepped in and finished the piece I couldn’t get to. She nailed it in less than an hour without attitude, accusation or judgement.
Honestly. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. It was so life changing that I was a little angry at myself for being so stubborn in the past.
In researching this “issue” that I had, I came across many other friends who also suffered from the same inability to reach out. Some worried that it signaled of a lack of professionalism to do so. Some claimed it made them feel vulnerable, incompetent or inferior. Some admitted they tended towards perfectionism and cited a fear of rejection as the reason they would not seek out assistance.
But I’ve learned that seeking help is actually a sign of strength. Asking for help is not weakness.
In order to do so, you need to be a strong enough person to accept that you have weaknesses and you need to be stronger still to accept help. Remember, no one is perfect. And no one expects you to be.
The reality is that no one achieves success on their own. Successful people have support systems in place that help them through the rough patches, and pitch in where and when needed.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s time to overcome those fears, admit your weaknesses, and ask someone for help already!