Asking for help could prevent you burning out and even save your life!
I ran a team communication and wellbeing day for a wonderful high performing team last week. We spoke of the difficulty some of us have asking for help when we are overwhelmed at work and how that can lead to us feeling distressed and in extreme cases feeling burnt out. To speak about this as a team was refreshing, and to realise we are not alone in this, is a relief. From team members, to leaders and business owners, we all need to ask for help sometimes.
I was reminded of how hard I used to find asking for help. So much so that when I needed it the most, I couldn’t even say the word; Help.
When I first lived in Australia circa the late 1990’s, I lived close to Manly Beach in Sydney. I made the most of it and was in the habit of going for a run and a dip in the ocean in the early mornings. I wasn’t the strongest of swimmers and had a lot to learn about the ocean and rips.
On one of the quieter mornings when there weren’t too many people around, I went in for a dip and got sucked in between a sandbank and the shoreline. There were strong waves pounding me and preventing me from getting out to the sandbank, and there was a rip that meant I wasn’t able to get back the shore on my own. I stayed there for around 10 minutes trying with all my might to get back to the shore before I started to fatigue.
I suddenly had the realisation, ‘I’m in serious trouble. If I don’t get help, I’m going to drown’. I saw the only swimmer within earshot of me about 20 meters away and I called out to him. Instead of saying help, I heard myself squeal in desperation: “EXCUSE ME. EXCUSE ME”.
This guy swam over, rescued me just like you’d see on Bondi Rescue and took me back to shore. I thanked him profusely and he went on his way. I never saw him again, but the lessons from that experience are etched in my memory.
Here are some ideas that help coaching clients and teams with asking for help:
💡It’s okay to ask for help
💡You are not alone in this
💡We have to ask for help before we drown
💡The better we are at asking for help and the earlier we do it, the less likely we are to burnout
💡Reaching out to the right people is important, or they may know a better person to ask
💡You may need to ask several people until you get the help you need
💡The actions that follow asking for help determine if we can recover and improve our situation or not.
I’ve seen many people come to coaching in need of help and support. There is no shame in it. The act of reaching out and asking for help is one of the first steps to overcoming our challenges. I’ve experienced it first hand and I know I will be asking for help when I need it for the rest of my days.
What about you? Do you find asking for help easy or hard? How have you benefited from asking for help?
#teamcommunication #communicationskills #speakingup #askingforhelp #coachingsupport #empoweringwomen #burnoutprevention #resilience #wellbeing