The benefits of asking for help - but why I had a hard time doing that.
I didn’t want to come across as a loser
‘So, can I help you?’ It was the second time my boss asked. I had dodged the first attempt. I was at the office, and felt very stressful. I was preparing for training at the end of the week. The weeks before I was super busy. I wanted to change every single thing about this training programme, to make it perfect. With one day left. A recipe for stress.
My boss noticed my tension and offered help. Inside I screamed: ‘Yes! Please help me! I am exhausted already and the training hasn't even started yet!’ But if I were to say that, I was 100 % sure the waterworks would come. I didn’t admit it to myself that I felt stuck. Let alone in front of my boss. What kind of loser must he think I am?
Smile and wave
So I smiled and said: ‘No thank you.’ The result of turning down his offer? I worked until late the evening before the training. I had a massive headache that day. I wrapped up the training an hour before the end-time because I felt burned out. Afterwards I felt sad and angry. I felt so guilty that I disappointed the participants. In my head, this training was a complete disaster.
What if I accepted his help?
Now, I would gladly accept my boss's offer to help. If I had done that, I could blow off some steam. He would have helped me to prioritize. He would have advised where the programme needs an upgrade, and where it was simply good enough. And I am 100 % sure I would have given the training with more ease, confidence and no headache. And the risk that he sees me as a loser? I discovered this isn’t true. So I ask and accept help a lot more.
I talked to colleagues this week about the design of a training programme. I followed a course on how to build a business as a coach, to prevent myself from inventing the wheel. I called my friend in the Netherlands to tell her I missed her. I asked my boyfriend this weekend for a hug because I needed one.
The funny thing is, my colleagues still like me and see me as a professional. My friend appreciated my call so much. My boyfriend loves to give hugs and he is happy if he can support me. People don’t think of me as a loser. In fact, people appreciate and think it’s great if I ask for help. It makes me more relatable than playing the ‘no thanks everything is fine I am strong’ girl. So that is a massive win-win situation.
So. When is the next time you are going to ask for help? Or accept the help you are offered?