Now more than ever before, working women are facing unique challenges stretching what is possible with their time and energy. Our existence has been completely overhauled, yet expectations of what we should be responsible for are slower to shift.
We’ve been thrust into juggling work and home life in ways we’ve never imagined, many of us taking on yet another, critical role that we already didn’t have room for; teacher and care giver.
Despite the overwhelm that we all experience at times, many of us are still resistant to the idea of reaching out to others for help.
Why? Because culturally, we tout independence as something magical to aspire to. We are trained to believe that asking for help and leaning on others is a burden; that it somehow means we’re weak, incapable, or not enough, and that fear stands in the way of us getting the help we need.
The irony of this belief system is that as human beings, we are wired to connect with others and we’re inherently drawn to community and relationships. We also have very real physical, mental, and energetic limitations. It’s literally in our DNA! If you really think about it, do you actually know anyone who can do everything entirely on their own (and do it well)?
There’s a reason we don’t all live alone on desert islands, we wouldn’t survive! When we don’t ask for help, we are condemning ourselves to desert island life, where every day feels like feast or famine, and not a lot in between. We need both independence to pursue our goals and interests, and support to thrive.
So what is the best way to go about asking for help?
There are few things to keep in mind when it comes to successfully asking others for support:
1) Start small.
Just like any new goal, start small in order to set yourself up for success. Try asking your husband if he can get breakfast sorted for the kids three mornings per week so that you can meditate and prepare mindfully for the day ahead. Or, ask your neighbor if your kids can play with their kids at their house after school two days per week, so that you have a couple more hours in the day to do what you need to.
2) Start with people you trust.
Begin with those closest to you who will most likely be willing to help, and with whom you don’t have to worry too much about feeling judged; family members, co-workers, and close friends. You might actually be surprised just how willing they are to help, and how grateful they are for the opportunity to give back to you. By asking others for help, you are giving them the opportunity to contribute meaning to the world in small ways which provides fulfillment and joy. You’re also showing your vulnerability which strengthens your relationship bond.
3) Be direct.
Don’t beat around the bush when it comes to communicating what you need from others, or you’re unlikely to get those needs met. Be clear and detailed with exactly what you need and when you need it.
4) Ask in advance.
This is perhaps the most important of all! Most people struggle to move things around at the last minute in order to be readily available, and even if they can, doing so creates added stress for that person. So don’t wait until you’re already overwhelmed and in meltdown mode to reach out for help. Give people plenty of time to plan and accommodate your request without creating more anxiety for them, and you’re more likely to get what you need.
5) Ask kindly.
This goes hand in hand with asking in advance. Often when we ask at the last minute, when we’re emotional or stressed, we can be brash or reactive in the way we ask for help. It’s important to remember the human on the other side and treat them as such. You are more likely to receive help from others if you ask politely without expectation, when you are calm and collected.
I’m here to encourage you to give yourself the permission you need to let go of unrealistic expectations, fears, and shame, and embrace seeking support. It’s no secret that the most successful people in the world have support in droves, and they are no more worthy of it than you are.
With regular help you have the opportunity to dedicate more of your limited energy to yourself, so that you can be the best version of you!
If you struggle to prioritize yourself, then latch on to this truth right here: the best thing you can do for your family and loved ones is give them your attention, and you most certainly can’t do that if your tank is empty!
If you want some personal tips on how to ask for help or strategize on how to make more space in your life for calm and joy, click this link to speak with me directly for FREE!