"I Hate Asking for Help"
Excuse #3 “I’ll Look Incompetent” continued...
Asking your boss and coworkers for assistance — tips on shortcuts, a
deadline extension, even feedback — doesn’t signal incompetence. On the
contrary, says Thacker, “You may feel vulnerable, but what you’re really saying
is, ‘I want to do the job right, and I understand the value of teamwork and
To switch your mind-set, first, recognize that today’s workplace is more
collaborative than it used to be. Even if you haven’t been formally assigned to
a work team, it’s likely that you’ll need an occasional assist from your peers
to do your job. Second, practice asking for help (and giving it) every day so
that it starts to feel natural, Thacker recommends.
Excuse #4 “It Won’t Get Done Right if I Don’t Do It Myself”
“Some women won’t accept help because it means surrendering control,”
Reynolds says. Case in point: Lori Reidel, 52, of Cincinnati, who didn’t trust
other parents to drive her son, Logan. She chauffeured him almost everywhere,
even though it meant paying for extra gas and losing the time and flexibility
that come with carpooling. “But if I’d let Logan ride in someone else’s car and
something happened, I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself,” Reidel
explains. “Primal parental fear is understandable,” comments Reynolds, “but
that unbending attitude is unrealistic and unhealthy for child and
Accepting a helping hand requires an active leap of faith that everything
will turn out OK. “You must stand up to the fear and mentally take it down,”
Reynolds explains. “Tell yourself, ‘This is an irrational fear. I will accept
help for one week; if I can’t handle it, then I’ll make a different choice next
week.’” Another mental trick: Remember other occasions when you felt anxious
about letting go but that turned out fine — the first time you left your child
with a babysitter, for instance.
When her son, now 14, started seventh grade, Reidel heard about a new
carpool down the street, and she took a deep breath and joined. The result has
been win-win: Logan has become pals with the other kids and Reidel has gained
more time — and more trust in the other parents.
Relinquishing lesser tasks may be easier, but it also requires an honest
evaluation of costs and benefits. Is it better to let your 9-year-old make his
bed badly or to take the time to do it yourself? After a party, does it make
more sense to let guests help you clean up or to stay up by yourself washing
dishes? Finally, Reynolds says, ask yourself this, “Is it the end of the world
if my son’s bed looks sloppy or my margarita glasses aren’t perfectly lined
up?” Focus on what you stand to gain — a lighter workload; more time for your
kids; a chance to bond with your friends.