Asking for Help

dreamstime_xs_92335252I have a problem asking for help.  There are reasons for this.

One is that I’m internally wired to think that I should be able to do everything, by myself, all the time.  This might relate to being responsible, independent, or self-sufficient.  These are good attributes, up to a point.  Or this might relate to being stubborn.  Stubbornness, too, can be a good thing, up to a point.  The reality is, we all need help sometimes and we shouldn’t let stubbornness, pride, or other things get in the way of asking.

Another reason that I have trouble asking for help is that I want things done the way I want them done, when I want them done.  I think that the way I do things is the best way.  After all, if it wasn’t the best way I wouldn’t do it that way.  It’s the old “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.”  The reality is, rarely is there one best way to do anything.  The important thing is the result—what was done, not how it was done.

I suggest that when you need help, ask.  Don’t let things get in the way.  When you ask, communicate clearly the result you want, but leave it up to the person helping you to determine the best way for him or her.  If a deadline is necessary, give it.  Otherwise ask the person when he or she can complete it.  These techniques can be used in our professional and personal lives.

Noticing Work

dreamstime_xs_34342688I was talking with a friend recently.  Both she and her husband have careers that require quite a bit of their time.  They also have two small children that require a great deal of time.  She mentioned that she wished her husband would do more around the house and with childcare.  I asked her whether she thought he could see the work that needed to be done.  She didn’t think he could.

I don’t think that is unusual.  Unless you are the one doing the work on a regular basis, I think it can be difficult to see that it needs to be done.  If someone else is being proactive and doing the work before it even needs to be done, it can be even more difficult.

There are many things in our house that I do that my husband doesn’t notice.  But then there are many things that he does that I don’t notice.  I’d notice if the furnace didn’t work, for example, but I don’t notice when he changes the filters to keep the furnace working properly.

A simple solution to this is communication.  Before assuming the person won’t help, or doesn’t want to help, ask for help.  This can apply to your professional life as well.  If you need help from your supervisor, ask.  If you don’t think she is aware of all you do, tell her.

Also take the time to find out what the other people in your life are contributing.  It might be more than you think.

Do No Harm, and…

Do No Harm, and… (Video)

“Do no harm” is a phrase that has been around for a very long time.  I think this is a good concept to live by, up to a point.

I read somewhere (I do not remember where) an addition to this phrase that I really like:  “Do no harm, and do not let anyone harm you.”

When we are aggressive, we harm others.  When we are passive, we let others harm us.  When we are assertive, we find the balance.  We do not harm others, and we do not let others harm us.

For more information and exercises to help you become more assertive, or assertive more consistently, see my book, Don’t Act Like Prey! available through www.SusanLFarrell.com or from Amazon.