Initiating Requests for Help

Blog 2021-01-26 photo

When you’re really, really busy—I mean head-spinning busy—it might not seem the time to reach out for help. In fact, it is the perfect time to request help. Why? Doing too much at once overstimulates the brain, resulting in distorted thinking. When our brains are on overload, we are less resourceful.

So, “grinning and bearing it” doesn’t work. Asking for help can…but only if you take one vital first step.

When you initiate a request for help, it’s crucial that you first examine what’s behind your need – this increases your chances of getting useful assistance. Here’s an example:

Requestor: “Wow! I am really stumped about how I can get our clients to find time to breathe.”
Requestee: “OK, well…good luck with that.”

The requestor didn’t sufficiently communicate the need. Let’s continue:

Requestor: “I believe that if our clients could make time to breathe, they might see there are better solutions.”
Requestee: “What’s keeping them from seeing that?”

Here, the requestor begins to share a belief they hold, and the requestee got curious. But there’s more at stake here. Let’s go even deeper:

Requestor: “It’s honestly not so much that they can’t see there are better solutions for them. I feel an immense pressure to sell our company’s newest solutions, and I fear I’m about to get cut loose from the sales team if I don’t.”
Requestee: “I’m sorry to hear that. What have you tried so far?”

Now we’re getting somewhere! In this scenario (based on actual events), the requestor is fearful about his job and finally discloses that fear. He soon realizes he was not approaching his clients in an open, involving way that allowed for natural dialogue about something that could be of great value to them.

So many times, we get ourselves stuck when we are overloaded because we may be hiding from something that we’re afraid to admit. Or sometimes, our concerns are so embedded that they don’t easily surface in a way that allows others to assist successfully.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, do ask for help. But first remember to examine what it is you’re concerned about or want. You might just find more help than you could’ve imagined, as this requestor did.

This Week: Think about a challenge where you could use help. To understand your desires or concerns in a way that can be shared, ask yourself: “What is at risk if this doesn’t go how I want or need?” Once you’ve identified that, reach out to someone you trust (or can build trust with), share your situation authentically. The collaboration might very well spark some useful creativity.

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  1. doug j brady on January 26, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Very nice Jen
    not always easy to ask, but many hands can make lighter work.

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