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Do you ask for help?
In last week's email, we looked at career mistakes. One of the
common career mistakes that is "trending" online at the moment is not
asking for help. Although I was somewhat dismissive of these common mistakes, I
think that this one is actually really important for all of us to think about.
If you have a career goal or aspiration, the chances are you will
get there more quickly and more comfortably with some support. My sense is that
most of us are bad at asking for help from others.
I cut my teeth in professional services back in the 90s. My early
career involved a lot of "winging it" by me and by my colleagues. I
would never have asked for help unless it was offered. In hindsight, it was not
a healthy culture. However, this was a pattern throughout my career. I always
thought I should "know" all the answers. Afterall I was employed to
fulfil a certain role, I should know what to do. This may well be linked to
Imposter Syndrome. We don't ask for help in case we're "found out" as
So, I've been doing some research about why it's hard to ask for
help and these are the common reasons:
How to ask for help
Quite often, I work with people who have lost their jobs. This is
a very vulnerable time and reaching out for help can feel even more difficult.
I will often ask my clients to step into the shoes of the person that they are
asking for help. Think about it. If someone reached out to you tomorrow asking
for your help to support them in finding a new job, in broadening their network
or simply to share your expertise, you would do it without thinking. You would
be flattered and eager to assist. Reframing the scenario, by asking for help
you are actually giving the other person an opportunity to be helpful, to be a
hero. We all like to be thought of in that way.
Here are a couple of other tips I picked up in my research that
will help you to ask for help:
Go and ask for help
This week, think of a challenge you're facing. Who could help you to
overcome this challenge? Now why not reach out and ask them for help. Apparently,
it gets easier if you practise. I'm going to give it go!
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