The Struggles are real
Most of us struggle with problems or tasks until we resolve them or get frustrated and give up. As an example I spent almost two hours yesterday trying to reformat a MS Word document for a conference where I am speaking. I was beyond annoyed having tried everything I could think of. “I’ll just print this as is -formatting be dammed.” Then I remembered that my good friend Mitch is a wizard with documents and I could ask him for help. I emailed the file to him and got it back -fully reformatted in less than 5 minutes. I know he was flattered that I recognized his expertise.
Get over the Shame
In today’s world, asking for help is often viewed as a sign of weakness, incompetence or even stupidity. It may bring up feelings of inadequacy or shame. We tell ourselves that we should do the best we can and then leave it alone or stop trying. As nurses we have heavy demands to complete tasks, provide care and somedays seem endless. Do you ask your coworkers or team for help or do you work overtime as a routine? It may be useful to review some key elements when asking someone for help or support.
Be Straight with Requests
First, be as clear as possible about the specifics of the help you need. Is it childcare, help organizing an event, lending you money for lunch or gas, putting your suitcase in the luggage bin on an airplane? Next, it is best to ask someone that you know has the knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence to assist you. Sometimes we worry that the help we ask for or receive comes with an expectation of reciprocity or even payment. This fear prompted author M. Nora Klaver to label asking for help as a “dreaded endeavor” in her book Mayday!: Asking for Help In Times of Need. Clear this negative self-talk out of your thoughts and ASK for help in a straightforward and clear manner. Often people like to be helpful-so given them the chance, then offer thanks and be grateful! Remember-just ask.