July 21, 2017

The Pride of Refusing “Hand Holding” (Even When You Need It)

In my coaching work I’ve noticed an interesting trend when it comes to the work that people need to get done: if it’s something they should be able to do on their own, they strongly resist asking for help with it – even if it’s something that’s stressing them out or keeping them from getting ahead.

Organizing papers and ideas, planning things on a calendar, writing an email…these seem like simple things, and so the thought of having someone do them for you or with you sounds silly to a lot of people – and yet sometimes the simplest of tasks can feel complex and can cause stress and anxiety.

Just because something seems simple doesn’t mean it always is or that it’s simple for you. Just like some tasks take longer for one person than for another – it’s part of being human. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

But being smart has a way of making one feel inept if help is needed with something that seems like it should be easy. It feels like hand holding, and that’s insulting to one’s intelligence, right?

In fact, some people become so indignant about needing help for things like this that they would rather suffer, and even lose money for services they’ve paid for, rather than admit that they need some help.

Time passes and the same things are still on the table that could have been over and done with if they’d only let go of the pride associated with insisting that they should be able to do everything themselves.

Ironically, the people who use their time most productively are the ones who will ask for help and delegate if possible. These people recognize that they could be doing more if they could get past whatever is holding them back, and that the easiest way to move forward is to find the path of least resistance to getting it done.

If that means getting someone else involved, that’s what they do. And then they can move on.

Once one has gotten over the pride of not wanting help and the shame often felt from asking for it, there is a deep sense of relief. Just knowing you don’t have to do something alone can be comforting and can provide enough support for you to move through whatever it is.

Here are some examples of ways you can get help:

Pay someone who can help you move forward.
There are people who can help with almost anything. Making phone calls, ghostwriting, organizing papers, cleaning, building, designing – you name it, there’s usually a person who can help. You can find help with intangible things, too, like anxiety, stress, mindset, etc. You just have to look for someone.

Ask someone to go through things with you.
Sometimes it’s easier to get things done if you have another person doing it alongside you. There are certain things that would either be less stressful, or just more fun if someone else was involved (I’m looking at you, file pile…). It’s comforting to have another person who can serve as another set of hands or another mind to troubleshoot and offer ideas. This can help you get things done faster and potentially better than you would be able to alone. The saying two heads are better than one exists for a reason!

Have someone sit with you while you do whatever it is you need to do.
Sometimes just knowing someone is there is enough! They don’t need to be involved, but if you wanted to talk to someone or ask a question or get an opinion, you’re not alone. Sometimes just the mere presence of another provides enough support for you to get something done that you’ve been avoiding. It also puts you in a situation of accountability: if you ask someone to come over and be with you while you do a certain task, it might be a little awkward if you don’t do it, since that was the point.

So while it may feel like it’s beneath you to ask for help or support for certain things, you have to ask yourself which is more important to you: would you rather have the task done / obstacle resolved, or would you rather it linger, distract you, stress you out, cause you anxiety, and/or keep you from moving ahead? Perhaps more important than anything is realizing that it’s your choice.

Everyone needs “hand holding” every now and then. And that’s not a sign of weakness. After all, how could getting ahead faster be construed as weak? People need people, and the ones who have the courage to rely on others when needed are the ones who gain the capacity to build the lives they want.

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