Last weekend I subscribed to a marketing software program. Soon after I registered, I received two back -to- back calls from a company representative. Although I did not answer either call, the caller’s messages stated that “Laura”, my personal consultant, was calling to check whether I had questions about the product’s features.
Despite her friendly voice, the calls annoyed me. The first call, caught me off-guard and left me feeling invaded. To call me at home, was too close for comfort and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why she had not called my mobile? Moments later, the phone rang again. This time it was my mobile.
A second call?! How dare they, I thought. I was pissed!
Many thoughts flew through my head: “The nerve of them calling me twice, “ “Who do they think they are? “ “Don’t they know that people don’t like to be bothered at home?”
Then it occurred to me; I really did need help. Actually, I was struggling trying to get one of the features to work properly. However, I was determined to keep working at it until I figured it out.
Then an epiphany… What if I let Laura help me? Her assistance could save me many hours of potential grief and wasted time . I reached out and called her.
When was the last time you asked for help?
I asked myself that same question and I couldn’t remember. Here, I had spent numerous hours working on that software. Not once, did I think of asking for help.
Poor Laura, trying to do her job, had to call me on two phones to try to help.
Why we don’t ask ?
Women of color are usually the last group to ask for it. Many times we think we should solve our own problems. Coming from families where independence and self- reliance is valued, most of us have been taught to be responsible for ourselves.
We see help as a weakness.
This practice is dangerous in the corporate world. Knowing how to ask is a key attribute of a leader. A leader knows when they should seek help and how to get it. Like many sisters, my refusal to ask Laura for help was because I knew eventually, I was capable of solving the problem myself. However, did it makes sense for me to waste time working on that problem? Or would my time have been better spent doing something more valuable?
When we don’t ask for help, we risk working in a vacuum, wasting valuable time on non-strategic projects and increasing our chances of making mistakes. We may also make the error of working harder not smarter.
Asking for help is a strength.
If you do it properly, it takes the form of delegation, collaboration, development and most of all, being strategic.
Do you need help?
Could you use assistance? Is there a “Laura” out there that may be able to help you so that you may use your precious time and energy more wisely?
Think about it, reach out and make the call.
Do you have trouble asking for help? Share your stories and we can help each other.