Have you ever noticed that life has a way of humbling you? Just when you thought you were buzzing along fine, something gets in your way and you start to stumble.
Perhaps you’re a solopreneur, or work or volunteer in a not-for-profit agency. Maybe you’re a government or private sector worker hit by the multiple budget and job cuts. All this translates into you managing more with less.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming.
I found myself in a situation like this recently.
Every few years, I give my website a once over. In addition, if you’ve known me for a while, then you likely are aware that I’m constantly developing new products, services, responding to requests and client demands, and finding new and exciting ways for you to communicate and connect with clients, colleagues, employees, and bosses. That can sometimes result in me being absolutely stymied with options and not being quite sure which way to go.
Today’s technology is a wonderful thing, it really is. And sometimes it’s a curse.
I only find it too much when I don’t know the technical way to get things done. Frustrating. I have a really clear picture of what I want my website to look like, and I know I can’t do it alone. I need to call in the troops, to reach out and get other experts involved. I’m not a techie person and never will be. In fact, I joke with my IT colleagues that people like me are what they call “job security”. Trust me, I will always need their help.
Over the past number of months, I’ve been grappling with how to implement some website changes. I’d like to change the appearance of my website to make it more elegant and sophisticated. I have a vision for a series of videos and a viral marketing campaign I’d like to launch. After harvesting more than a year’s worth of my various presentations on tape, I’m finally ready to cobble together my demo video. All these things are coming together fast … and I don’t know what to do with them technically. I need help.
Here’s what I learned in the process about asking for help:
Know when you need help.
Are you working too many hours? Are things keeping you awake at night? Is this issue consuming all your energy and waking hours? If yes, maybe it’s time to reach out and benefit from someone else’s experience and expertise. Why burn yourself out when someone out there has all the answers you need?
Do what you do best and buy the rest.
Years ago, while earning my Business Admin degree, I remember my economics professor, Dr. Soroka telling us this little gem. It’s a principle of economics. It’s also a principle that will help you save your sanity while you multiply yourself and your results.
Know what you need … and then communicate it.
Throwing up your arms in resignation may feel good momentarily, but it’s not going to change your situation for the long haul. Do your research until you are able to enunciate exactly what it is that would make a difference to you, your stress level, your productivity, and your project. Being able to communicate what you need is critical.
Ask the right person.
When you finally decide it’s time to get help, move toward someone who has the expertise you need. You want to be able to lean on him or her. Getting help should de-stress you, not distress you. Find the right person and remember – fit before fee. Make sure the fit of expertise, skill, personality, communication style, and budget are comfortable for you. Know what you’re willing to compromise on, and what types of expertise and deliverables are mission-critical, that you must have. Knowing these things in advance will make your selections easier and quicker which is good for both you and the interested suppliers.
Asking for help may feel awkward. That’s normal.
You may talk yourself out of it, thinking that reaching out is an indication of incompetence. Or maybe you’re afraid people will reject the real you. You might feel like getting help removes options and may paint you into a corner, or it could be the big unknown that’s holding you back. Whatever your reason that’s stopping you from asking, is it real? Or is it an unfounded concern? Is it probable or just remotely possible?
Asking for help is a wonderful way to relieve stress.
Give it a try. Yes, it may mean compromising on something else (like the cost to get the help, for example, or on the end product itself, but it could be the beginning of a whole new relationship with another wonderful colleague or supplier.
I look forward to moving forward with my website project. Just a few months ago I was swirling in the world of possibilities, not sure in which direction to go. Then I did my homework, became familiar with what I wanted and needed to the point I could enunciate the deliverables, the scope, and everything clearly, and now, I’m evaluating the bids. I feel relief and progress. You can too. Just ask.
© 2012, updated 2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
©2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
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