I’ve noticed I have a tendency to try to do things on my own. In some ways, this has served me well. I’ve learned to be self-sufficient, problem-solve my way out of a jam, and find motivation when I need it.
But it doesn’t always go like that. Sometimes I do it myself despite knowing that having help would produce a better result. Sometimes, I’ll even go so far as to turn down the help when it’s offered.
Then…I find myself overwhelmed.
There is a fine line that we all need to learn how to walk.
On the one hand, we should aspire to have the capability to take on challenges with or without anyone, and develop the grit and tenacity to persevere.
On the other hand, we should know when we’re in over our head, or when we’re just being too stubborn to admit we need help.
I’m consistently getting better and accepting the help, even if that’s just emotional support and encouragement from someone else. One of the ways I’ve started to improve in this area is to combine regular audits and spot-checks.
Every 2-3 weeks I’ll draw a mindmap of everything I’m working on. I then use that opportunity to look at how much I’m working on and consider whether I can realistically handle it all myself. I try to remind myself to lean on the side of asking for help more than doing it myself. I do this regularly and it helps me to maintain a little more balance.
People often ask me if there’s anything they can do to help. My default instinct is to say no. However, over the last 6 months, I’ve made a conscious effort in those moments not to answer “no” immediately. Instead, I’ll typically try to say, “maybe, give me a little bit to think about it. Can I get back to you tomorrow?”
This gives me the space to get away from my prideful response of showing everyone how much I can handle on my own, and actually let others help me.
I thought about how I feel when I offer someone help. I REALLY want to help that person. I’m itching for them to say yes. So, I give others the same benefit of the doubt on that and assume that people that offer, honestly want to help.
We’ve got this
I believe in collaboration. I believe in teamwork. One of my big takeaways from my MBA was that “everyone has a role.” I learned it after those who helped me with accounting homework, needed me to do some public speaking in front of the class.
We’ve all got a role, and nearly all of us want to help. Instead of turning it away and trying to feed my ego about what a hard worker I am, I’m trying to embrace those who would even offer me their time and talents.
How about you? Does this story sound familiar?
Also published on Medium.