Do you have a hard time asking for help?
For most of my adult life, I struggled with the feeling that I was a lazy person. I assumed that if I wasn't constantly in motion, or doing everything on the list and pulling my weight then I must be a big ol' , fat, lazy bones.
Note the word fat in there. I was overweight well in to my 20s and I worked myself even harder because I didn't want to be seen as the "lazy fat woman".
Asking for help or admitting that I couldn't do it would have been another way to say to the world "hey, check it out - I'm really not as competent as you think I am!". So, I put my hand up for everything, didn't admit when I was drowning, and rarely asked for help! On the few occasions when I would have help, I felt terribly guilty and lazy.
Several years later, after a lot of introspection and great life coaching, I have a better relationship with my body and don't feel lazy, wasteful, or unproductive if I'm not in constant motion. I rarely feel guilty. I'm still a productive, successful and creative professional.
People pay me to consult in their businesses, I lead teams of people, I've created the Kin North community along with our first products, I get to several movement classes each week, I walk my dogs every day, I keep the fridge filled with food, I manage all of the household money, I get eight hours of sleep each night.
And you know how I do all that? I ask for help.
If you're looking for a productivity hack to get more out of your week, then this is the best one I know! It's a bloody smart strategy that will mean you can focus your energy on the activities that bring you the most joy and have the greatest impact in your life.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength because it allows you to clearly bring your most valuable talents to the world. Trying to do five things at once means the world misses out on you doing the special things that only you can do.
If your special talent is building relationships in client meetings but you're spending time battling with facebook advertising, you're wasting your limited energy reserves on something that could potentially be outsourced. When you finally show up for that meeting, you're not really at your best *and* potentially you missed an opportunity to provide work to someone else.
How to start asking for help
- Identify the tasks that take you much longer than they do someone else. Who could do it better, faster, or with more joy?
- If you're outsourcing in a paid capacity, celebrate the fact that you're creating work for someone else.
- If you've found someone at work better suited to a task, celebrate that you're allowing them to shine a light on their own talents.
- On the home front, consider who is most effective at doing certain tasks. In my case, my husband is so much more efficient at cleaning up after dinner while I'm faster at balancing the bank balances. Neither of them are fun tasks but in having the most efficient person complete each one, we have more time and energy for one another.
- Focus on what asking for help enables you to do instead. If hiring a house cleaner once a week means you get to spend time being truly present with your kids, that's a worthy investment!
- Keep asking. Feeling guilty about asking for help is normal, but the more you do it and see the flow on effects to your energy, the easier it will become.