Monday Morning Leadership Q&A – 11/20/17

Client Question: “I am hitting a brick wall on this project that I am working on.  I don’t know how to move forward on it and solve this issue.  What should I do?”

Since you have tried to solve it yourself without success, my first question would be “have you asked for help from someone else?”   Asking for help is one of the most challenging things for people to do for some reason.  Why do we all feel that we need to do it ourselves?  Let’s explore some of the internal thinking that may be holding you back from getting help.

  • “Asking for help is a sign of weakness” 
    • Many people look at it that way, but what if asking for help meant you would have the answer in 5 minutes?  You would save time and energy on this issue and be able to move forward!  You could get so much more accomplished instead of spinning your wheels and still not solving the issue.
    • What if you look at it differently and see it as a sign of strength?  No one person has all the answers to everything.  When you collaborate with someone else, you may come up with an even better way to do what you need to accomplish.  Multiple people can look at a problem and see things differently.  They can leverage different experiences and ways to process the information to see different outcomes.
  • “I’ve never been good at asking for help”
    • ​​​​​​​When we are young our parents and teachers try to get us to figure things out for ourselves and solve problems.  They are trying to teach us problem solving skills which is a good thing.  However, when you have tried to solve the issues without success, it is time to ask for help.  Instead of flunking math, it is okay to get a tutor to help you learn how to solve the problems when you don’t get it.
    • Now that you are an adult dealing with more work, more ambiguity and more information, you may need a little help to sort things out and give you new ways to think about them.
  • “If I can just keep researching it myself, I will find the answer”
    • ​​​​​​​It is great to do your own research, as long as it doesn’t delay you from moving forward.  Over analyzing things and trying to figure them out alone doesn’t help you move forward.  Set a time limit to solve it and if you can’t resolve the issue by then, then tap into others who may have more experience.  This is a better approach than potentially missing your deadlines and falling behind isn’t it?
    • Don’t limit yourself to internal information or resources.  You may need to tap into external resources in your industry or people who have done what you are trying to do.  Depending on what your challenge is there are a variety of resources.  Here are just a few suggestions: Google it, call a vendor, tap into forums that may have the answer, look for a resource on LinkedIn that may be willing to share, post a question in a group that may have the knowledge.  Leverage whatever you need to do to get the answers you need.

Let go of the internal thinking that you are the only one who can solve this issue.  It is an empowering feeling to know that you don’t have to have all the answers.  Everyone needs help every once in awhile and it is a much smarter use of your time to ask for it.  Think of all the people who have asked you for your help.  Did you think that they were weak?  No, you probably thought that you were glad that you could help them.  The people that you need input from will want to help you.  Just give yourself permission to ask for help and keep moving forward.

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