Today’s session is about asking for help.
As managers and leaders, we somehow think we should have it all together and know what to do. Come on really?
As more and more is put on our plates and expectations of ourselves, and from others runs high we live with an imposter syndrome – meaning we know we don’t know what we are doing, certainly not all the time, and live with the fear that someone will find us out. In reality there is no script for this work, most of us are making it up as we go along, and no one ever tells us this. You are not alone. So, let’s spend some time talking about how to be with this reality.
There is a reason on airplanes they tell you to “first put your oxygen mask on yourself” and then take care of others. But when you are not flying at 30,000′ with its associated risks, it is easier said than done. And in the spirit of changing the world of work, I think it’s worth exploring the implications of reaching “past full” and looking at some options to help when it happens.
And it happens. To all of us from time to time. You know that feeling. Like you are full up past your eyeballs (mine actually leak when I reach this point..no kidding!). You have no additional capacity to take on one more thing and the next thing to come along just might cause you to lose it. And you are not even sure what “it” is, but your pretty sure if you lost “it” it would not be a pretty sight.
When we reach this point, our tendencies are to react. To protect. To defend. To control. To hunker down and slog our way through. Why? Because we have to. Because no one else can do it. Because (fill in the blank with your favorite reason).
And what I’ve come to learn is our reasons limit space for the thing we need most. Help. The thing we need the most, we are hesitant to seek. And the odd thing is, the hands and hearts are always there. Waiting. Sometimes pleading, to help.
Our reasons and rationale actually create distance. Often from those who care the most for us. Which is ironic, because the way out of the particular pit of doom and dread we are living in is to rely on others, to ask for help. To allow other to help. To know we are worthy of help.
I know for most of us this level of vulnerability can be uncomfortable. Especially in a work setting where we have this script running in our head that tell us we must be strong, we must not crack, others are depending on us, we must know (fill in with your favorite reason). In one of my most favorite TED talks of all time, Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability. And that at its core is a belief that we are worthy of love, of being cared for. And that surrounding each of us are friends, allies and mentors to help. When we need it.
Three things to think about when you find yourself past full…
- Who are your people…find them. Find your allies, your champions. These are the ones who love you and care about your well-being and want you to be successful and will be honest with you.
- Write down their names.
- Reach out. And be specific about what you need from them. For example, I was overwhelmed when being appointed to my first executive level role. So, I reached out to my Best Friend Debi and I shared with her my complete disbelief that the Board had actually hired me for this job. I asked her for validation. Without a beat, she basically told me to get it together, pull up my big girl pants and get in there. I had convinced them I could do the job, because I could. I just didn’t know it yet.
The thing we need the most, we are hesitant to seek. And the odd thing is, the hands and hearts are always there. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Thanks for joining us for this week’s “Five-minute Epiphanies How to Mine the Mess for Success: Tips, Snippets and Stories.” For more information check us out at www.stepupleadership.com and join us next week when Kate is going to be talking about what every extrovert needs to know about working with introverts.