As I am sure is the case with many people, I have had a mixture of good and bad managers during my working career. One of the good ones, about 6 years ago said to me...
"it is okay to ask for help".
In this scenario, it wasn't in relation to personal or health reasons, but more in a professional sense. At first, I felt like it didn't make much sense - I was a high performing employee who was relied upon, and I shared a good level of mutual respect with my manager. I also had strong relationships with peers and colleagues.
Time for reflection
As an over-thinker (it has its plus points sometimes!), I reflected on this and started to realise my manager was right - I believed in my own abilities and enjoyed being the 'go-to' person for my peers when they needed some support. It wasn't about delegation or developing others - by this point I was an experienced manager and enjoyed providing opportunities and increased responsibility for others.
It feels great!
As the penny dropped, and through further informal conversations with my manager, I realised there were two main reasons why I should ask for help, in particular from my peers. Firstly, because nobody has all the answers and by engaging with others, there are often new better ideas or alternative solutions and approaches to certain problems. Secondly, because it feels GREAT to be asked for help. How had I missed this? I thrived on being asked for help by others - it gave me a lift.
This was a pivotal moment for me - I wasn't arrogant (I don't think!) but I did believe in my own ability, and also, I had that classic feeling of not wanting to put other people out!
Learning from others
From this moment forward I started asking others for help and advice, especially when people had greater experience or expertise in a certain area than I did. When I left this final job and set up my own business in 2017, I was never more grateful to have changed my mindset in relation to asking for help!
A bit naïve and wet behind the ears as a business owner, I went about asking lots and lots of people for help and advice...and gratefully, everyone I spoke with was such a great help and were more than happy to give their time to someone they had never met! How great is that? It helped me no end...and it helped make others feel good. Many of whom I still keep in touch with today.
This bled into other aspects of my life, such as football coaching and family life - I started asking others for help and it helped me learn and develop. It still does to this day.
The moral of the story
So, what is the moral of this story? Simply, don't ever think you are too senior, too successful, too stubborn or too high performing to ask for help. Whether this is to do with work, mental health or how to make a great spaghetti Bolognese - some of the true highlights of life are meeting new people, deepening relationships and self-development. The joy of learning new things. If we open our minds and eyes, then every day is a school day.
Finally, if you are feeling a bit down just now, then please don't bottle it up - ask for help.
Take care for now,