In the blog last week, I shared with you an experience I had gone through recently.
An experience that really brought to my attention, just how difficult and how debilitating – as an adult woman – it had been for me to ask for help.
And I am wondering if the same might be true for you.
I’ve been doing my research and apparently, a fear of being told NO is a key reason many women don’t ask for help and this resonates really powerfully with me.
As a young girl, I can actually recall making a very conscious decision around this.
I decided I would stop ASKING for anything. Because by NOT ASKING, I would no longer have to listen to my mum saying NO.
NO to playing a musical instrument, NO to school trips, NO to ice cream. NO to anything really… In a family of six kids, her ‘GO TO’ response was always the same – “NO” – “if you get to (whatever) then all 6 of you have to”.
Who could have known that a decision made by a young girl at 12 or 13 years of age could have impacted my life so significantly? It was a simple choice. No drama – just a way of controlling the amount of disappointment in my life.
But to this day, ‘Asking for help’ is something I rarely do. It seems that the decision to ‘NEVER ASK’ extended way beyond my relationship with my mum and into every area of my life.
But I now accept that it’s time for that to change.
I am ready to develop my ASKING skills and I am opening myself up to RECEIVE. I’ve started practising already and I admit, it feels a little bit clumsy. But I’m not giving up!
How easy is it for you to ask for help? Do you also find it tough?
For many women, asking for help is a real challenge. Like me, they see it as a weakness.
In their careers, many believe that it will be seen as a sign that they can’t cope. Some even believe that others will find out that they are not really good enough.
And then there’s the need for control. We like to be in control and if we don’t feel that we are, we can start to feel insecure, or afraid; we may start to worry, or become stressed.
But the danger of not letting go and allowing someone capable of doing so to share the load is that we run ourselves ragged. For strong, independent women like us, it can be really difficult to master the art of delegation. That’s partly because of our need to remain in control but also because we believe that others won’t carry out the task to the same high standard that we set for ourselves.
Which might be true. But consider these words of wisdom that someone shared with me many years ago…
“Just because they approached it differently to how you would,
doesn’t make it wrong.
It makes it different”
The thing is if you DON’T start to ask for help if you don’t start to let go, if you don’t share the load, then eventually you will find yourself in a place of overwhelm, possibly suffering from anxiety and/or stress. If you are not taking care of yourself then eventually you will become ill and forced to take some time off work to recover. Who will maintain your high standards then?
When I think back to my time in Corporate, particularly during the time I made the switch from Marketing to Supply Chain, I often worked 70-80 hours per week. But still, I would rather have worked myself to death than admit that I needed help. I would have hated to think anyone held the view that I couldn’t cope, or I wasn’t capable of the job. So, I said YES to everything that came my way. Whether it fell into my area of responsibility or not.
I would no longer advocate for that version of success.
My advice to you is to take action now before it is too late. You really don’t have to do everything for yourself. Delegate where you can. Outsource those tasks at home that fill you with dread (cleaning the house, ironing, washing the car) etc. Make time for you. Because if you are not feeling your best, then you won’t be operating at your best either. Relinquish control. Invest your time more wisely.
Ask for help.
If this resonates and you too are one who is so used to be the ‘fixer’ the one who rarely asks for help – then let me spare you the discomfort.
Let ME ask the question.
How may I be of service?
x Until next week, sending you love x
I would love to get to know you more, connect with me here.