I always refuse the guy at the grocery store when he offers to help me get my groceries to the car. I always insist on folding the laundry because there is only one right way to fold a towel. And don’t even get me started on the right way to load a dishwasher. But there are some things I wouldn’t even dream of doing myself. For example, I would never DIY a root canal or a haircut.
If we are honest, accepting help can be hard. Asking for help? You’ve got to be kidding! But why is it so hard to ask for help? It’s hard because asking for help means two things: it means we aren’t superwoman (or superman), and we can’t always be in complete control. These are two things we know in our heads but two things that are terribly hard to admit.
And admitting it is hard. It was even hard for me. But, eventually, I bit the bullet and admitted that I couldn't do it all. The Virtual Assistant needed an Assistant. Yes, you read that right. I needed help, and I got it. And it has made a world of difference.
If we ask for help, we are telling others that we can't do everything. It's admitting that we can't run the world and remember to pick up our dry cleaning at the same time. It's recognizing that we can't create a business from scratch and keep up with those dreaded Holiday cards. I mean I love getting them, but sending them is an immense pain.
Asking for help takes a little, um, humility. And humility is hard. We are told to grab life by the horns, seize the day, and take risks. But, sometimes, all that grabbing and seizing and risk-taking can leave us overworked and under kept….Honestly, I know I’m not the only one who loves winter because I can remove shaving from my to-do list.
So, I’m going to help you out. Today, I’m giving you a pass to admit that you aren’t superwoman (or superman) and that you aren’t perfect. It’s okay. I’m encouraging you to take an honest look at your day and note where you can ask for help. The humility will come in handy because, to do this, you will have to look particularly for areas where maybe you just aren’t that skilled. Or, maybe you’re good at, but it keeps falling through the cracks because you’re too busy on more pressing things.
Write those things down and then brainstorm who you can ask for help. Maybe it’s a friend who can help you clean out your gutters. Or perhaps it’s a professional who can help you get your social media presence efficient and effective.
Whatever it is, a little breathing room on your to-do list will be good for you in the long run. Plus, leaving something to someone who might be better at it than you, i.e., a virtual assistant who can help you write and produce an incredible email campaign, will only help you focus on what you are excellent at and the reason why you started this whole journey.
It will be worth it. Your family will thank you, your friends will thank you, and your future self will thank you. But it won’t always be easy. To be honest, the hardest part will come next. It’s easier to swallow your pride and admit you need help than it is to relinquish control.
That’s right, letting go of power will be harder than you expect. But when you let go of something small, like the gutters, you will realize that they're just gutters, and it's no big deal. When you let go of something big, like the email campaign, you will realize that there actually may be someone out there you can trust. And the ability to believe in another human being is a benefit that goes far beyond business.
At the core of asking for help are relationships. Relationships matter in business and out of business. It is not a question of “if” you will need help, but “when.” You might feel like you have it under control now, and indeed you may. But, if your goal in business is growth then one day you will need help. You will need to take a step towards humility and seek areas that you can relinquish at least some control to a friend or a professional.
And when you find yourself ready to let go of control and stretch out your arms for support, make sure it's someone you trust. Make sure it's someone you enjoy talking to, someone who takes the time to listen to you, and someone who isn't afraid of heights. After all, those gutters ain’t gonna clean themselves.