11 Jun

The secret to working smarter, not harder

I am sure you have heard the saying “If you want something done properly you have to do it yourself”. Have you noticed people’s reactions to this saying? Most of them smile, nod, agree whole heartedly and recall stories of undergoing huge personal sacrifices in their own heroic efforts of implementing a project single-handedly . This behaviour is somehow seen  as acceptable and even admired.

What is wrong with this picture? Have we been so severely brainwashed to think that to be seen as productive, successful members of society, we have to be totally self-sufficient in our lives, and that asking for help is a sign of weakness?

Well, whoever originally said “If you want things done properly you have to do them yourself” should be shot!

We are not islands. We do not function to our optimum on our own. In order to achieve even the most simplest of goals we need to interact with people around us. We need to rely and trust people to do their part. We need to ask people for help.

This topic comes to mind as I see this issue over and over again. The following question is relatively common in a coach’s  tool box and one I personally ask on a regular basis. “What type of resources do you have available to you?” 

People automatically think of resources such as finances, materials, time and knowledge. It is quite interesting that the least common resource listed when asked this question is, people.

If you identify with this type of behaviour try reflecting on the following:

  • If you saw someone else in your situation, what would you suggest they do?

Funny when it is someone else. I am 100% certain that your  immediate advice would be: “Ask for help!” Perhaps we should listen to our own advice?

  • Who benefits from you completing the project single handedly?

I don’t believe  this point needs additional explanation. In this situation, there are no winners. You just end up worked harder.

  • What will you lose if you ask people for help?

Strange but true, but most people want to be asked for help. We have this innate need to help people around us. Our friends, families and even strangers sometimes.

The last two questions I will leave to you to reflect on:

  • How would your life be transformed if you asked people for help?
  • What would you gain if you asked for help?

Overcoming the urge to not ask for help can be hard, but putting your pride and ego aside can be extremely liberating and definitely brings a great sense of relief. You’ll wish you had asked for help earlier.

As Sandeep Jauhar said, “The only mistake you can make is  not asking for help.” 

Nicole Coyne

Nicole Coyne

Nicole is a certified professional coach as well as a certified trainer, advanced assessor and coach mentor. Based in Auckland, she provides a range of coaching options, from individual business owner and management coaching, group and team coaching workshops to personal coaching. Her coaching practice is aligned to the ICF ethos and ethics. Need to hire a professional coach? Contact Nicole nicole@tikumu.co.nz 
Nicole Coyne

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