Pop quiz: Do any of these describe your current state?
- Your personal life and work life have blended into an indistinguishable jumble.
- You’re working at a sprint but your to-do list never gets shorter.
- When asked what you do in your free time you respond, “My what?”
If so, you’re teetering on the edge of – or already submerged in – burnout. When overwhelmed feels like an understatement, it’s time to make some changes.
I get it. I’ve been there. I went from being impeccably organized to feeling hopelessly scattered. What helped me course-correct? This simple (and sometimes terrifying) step: Asking for help.
Why we should be asking for help more often
The very idea of asking for help can feel like a non-starter. We’ve been led to believe that it’s possible to do it all, all by yourself. We’ve consumed the cultural myth that asking for help makes you a bad leader. But it’s not true.
In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Peter Bregman writes “Hiding our weaknesses in an attempt to be strong leaders makes us weak leaders. Our vulnerabilities make us most vulnerable when we pretend they don’t exist.”
Asking for help can actually make people see you as a more competent leader. And it can make you better at your job. Getting help creates space for the activities that make you successful as an entrepreneur: Researching content trends. Creating engaging content. Positioning yourself as a thought leader.
Overcoming my fear of seeking help was a game changer in my career. Not only did I reclaim some breathing room, but my business grew. I was respected more by the teams I worked with and I was able to create more impact and visibility with my business.
Here are three things you can do this week to ask for help – and become a stronger leader in the process.
No matter where you are in your career, you can free up time by paying someone to help you. From one-off tasks to a full-time executive assistant, hiring help can support you as you focus on tasks that help you grow your business and revenue.
When I started Morelli Writers, I went from being a business of one to growing an agency. The process was exciting, but not exactly smooth.
I’ve always identified as an organized person. I can keep track of a lot of things with relative ease. And yet, as my business grew I started to drop balls. I would schedule meetings… but at the wrong time. I’d look at my task list and feel overwhelmed about what to do next. In short, I was holding too much in my brain. I knew I needed to ask for help.
I hired an executive assistant to help me manage my schedule and my tasks. As soon as she came on board, I started to regain the space and time I needed. I could drive business ideas forward. I had time to be creative. With the business tasks covered, I could focus on increasing revenue. And I saw immediate results in reduced stress and improved mental health.
But you don’t need to have your own payroll to hire support. There are plenty of opportunities to ask for help, either at home or at work, to find a better work-life balance.
Take a moment and ask yourself: What could asking for help look like for you?
Could it be: Hiring someone to clean your house once or twice a month? Asking a friend to grab a gallon of milk for you while they’re at the store so you finish up sales calls or emails before 5pm? Or hiring a virtual assistant for five hours a month to organize your calendar and send emails?
Whatever it is, creating more time can help you regain your creative mojo and move your business forward.
2.Use your network.
Your contacts list is full of experts – even if your friends and neighbors aren’t marketers and content creators. Reach out to your network when you need insight, feedback, or advice.
Let’s say you’re writing an email, website copy, or social media post for your business, and you need some feedback. If you can’t hire a copywriter or editor, approach a friend who would shop at your business or use your services. Offer to buy them a coffee for their honest feedback.
Your friend will probably feel delighted that you asked.
Peter Bregman, again, in the Harvard Business Review: “The reality is that leaders who don’t need help have no one to lead. People feel good when they help. They are inspired when they are needed. They don’t think less of the people they help, they feel more connected.”
Rather than fostering guilt, this kind of exchange can be joyful. Every time I’ve done it, I’ve been amazed by the outcome. Reaching out to your network empowers your friends – you value their expertise! And it empowers you to grow as a leader and business owner.