How to Ask for Help That Saves You Time and Money
I was recently on a conference call with new web-developers. I had just contracted with them through Elance.com.
One of the developers began by asking me questions like:
- Who’s the target audience?
- What’s your call to action?
- What’s the goal of the website re-design?
- What do people currently do when they visit the site?
- What do you want visitors to do when they visit the site?
I was not prepared. I had no answers. I could feel my mood changing.
Then the other developer said something to me that I’m always saying to other people:
I ended the call. Frustration overcame me and my mood turned blue. Very quickly, I began to feel overwhelmed and tired, like I needed to take a nap. That fatigue was my denial.
How funny – just five minutes prior to the call, I was optimistic and excited about the project.
It’s at times like this that I’m glad I have rules for how I can and cannot behave when things don’t go my way and when things go awry. time and money
Rule 1: I give myself only 15 minutes to play the victim and wallow in self-pity.
Fifteen minutes is enough time for me to feel bad, whine, pout, cry, blow my nose, wash my face, breathe, take responsibility for everything, convince myself it’s not the end of the world, get over it and move on. time and money
The most important part of these 15 minutes is the complete acceptance of responsibility.
By owning everything, I regain my momentum and get back on track. Telling myself it’s my fault moves me through the cynicism, denial, negativity and fault-finding, blaming and complaining stages. time and money
Without this rule I could spend days, maybe even weeks, in a state of complete unproductivity. With practice, I’ve learned how to maintain a healthy state of mind.
Rule 2: It’s ok to ask for help.
Asking for help alleviates the feeling of being overwhelmed, frustrated, lost and confused. Getting the exact kind of help you need saves you energy, resources, time and money.
Here’s how to ask for help:
- Talk with someone you trust. Ask them to point you in the right direction.
- Set up brainstorming sessions with friends and family. Write down all ideas without judging them. This will keep the creativity flowing. time and money
- Narrow down choices so that you don’t give people too many options. Pick your top ideas and offer them as points of discussion. time and money
- Stay positive and upbeat. time and money
- Don’t get frustrated if the first person you ask for help is no help at all. Say, “thank you” and move on. time and money
- Some people need choices and alternative courses of action. They need to think through a problem and analyze the situation. Don’t get frustrated if the help they’re offering is not exactly what you had in mind. Listen well because it could be just what you need. time and money
- Be clear about what you want. In order for you to ask the right questions you have to be focused and succinct. Explain where you’ve been, where you are currently, and where you’d like to be. Remember: start with the end in mind. time and money
The documentary, Man on Wire, is a story that provides an exceptional example of a man who could not accomplish his goal alone. He asked for help in both the planning and execution of a goal. time and money
Acknowledging your need for help is a sign of confidence and strength, not weakness.
Regardless of our circumstances, we all need help every once in a while. We all get overwhelmed and we all struggle. If you’re carrying more than you can handle, let some of it go by letting someone else support you. The world would be a better place with less stressed out people.
Go get it!