I make a weekly visit to the grocery store.
The cashier always asks, “Do you need someone to help carry the groceries to the car?” I always say, “No thanks, I got it”.
I’ve even mastered the art of gathering the over-stocked grocery bags in one go, so I only have to make one trip from the car to the front door.
But this week, a bag slipped from my hand. The jug of milk splashed across the cement, a bag of apples tumbled across the driveway.
I overestimated myself and pushed those grocery bags to the limit. I refused to admit that it was better for me to take multiple trips to give myself and the grocery bags a break.
There I was, angry and frustrated that in my attempt to be more efficient, I created more work. Spilled milk, be damned, this was about me.
We think we can
I see it all the time.
It’s not just me.
Studies show that there are a lot of people who are pushed to their breaking point. At work and at home, many people take on multiple projects and obligations, and insist on completing them all on-time – alone.
We’re trying to prove to ourselves that we’re capable of doing everything and anything. We want to show others that we’re strong, worthy, self-sufficient. We are determined to accomplish what we’ve set out to do, and once we get it done – we’ll be damn proud of it.
We think we can do it all.
So, we resist asking for help. We don’t want to seem weak or incapable of a few simple tasks. We believe it will be faster to just do it ourselves. We’re not ready to face judgement or be seen as a failure by others — ourselves. Some of us don’t ask for help, because we don’t want to come off as needy.
But then, as we juggle all those tasks we have to do – or we’re trying to carry our purse, phone and too many overfilled bags – we drop the ball. Or in my case, the groceries.
Stock up on support
When you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed by your to-do list, that is the moment you have to stop trying so hard. Just stop.
Swallow your pride, if that’s what’s in the way and ask for help, before you break-down or suffer from a burn out. You won’t be able to help anyone, and you won’t be able to do your best work if you’re exhausted, frustrated, and falling apart from the inside.
Denying yourself a helping hand is causing you more harm than good.
Fact: Asking for help is actually a sign of strength.
Another fact: It’s okay to admit that you can’t do everything you set out to do, all by yourself.
The truth is that we’ve all been there. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Brene Brown,
Oprah – smart, admirable and inspiring leaders who many of us look up to – have accomplished great things, and asked for help along the way.
I mean, heck – you’ve had help before!
There’s no way you graduated high school, bought a new home, got your promotion at work without some guidance from your teachers, mentors, colleagues, family, and even your boss.
You’re more likely to reach your goal with help and encouragement from them. That feeling of relief from them lifting some of the weight off your shoulders is a nice perk, too.
The network of supporters that you’ve built over time and the people who have willingly kept you motivated thus far, are people you can count on in times of need. Would you be willing to help them? Of course.
They know what you’re going through. They’re happy to help lift the load and show you the shortcuts.
That’s what they’re there for!
(And if they say “no” find yourself some new people.)
Be more selfish. Be less self-reliant.
Pushing through until something gives – your work, your health, and your progress – is no way to move towards your goals.
When you take on too much, you stress yourself out. Your work suffers, your mental health takes a hit. Personal projects and simple tasks at work that are usually easy to manage turn into a headache. Eventually all these crappy scenarios pile on top of each other, and you crash.
Then you’re stuck in a mess that you have to clean up, when you already felt like you were falling behind.
I mean, not only did I have to chase after bruised apples, but I had to get back in my car and on a Sunday afternoon, for another jug of milk and more fruit – which cost me more money and time I would have rather spent doing anything else.
Rather than waiting for that heavy burden or sense of being overwhelmed by what you need to finish, be proactive. Take a deep breath, and then organize and prioritize your commitments. You may need to brace yourself for the fact that you won’t be able to accomplish all of them.
A good reality check is like that. Lol.
From here, you get to choose. What to keep, let go of and what to do you need help with.
Reach out. Seek advice. Use it as an opportunity to learn from valuable people in your network, and even make new connections.
Don’t panic. Stay calm. Don’t burn the candle at both ends. Stay confident.
Whatever you’ve set yourself up to do, you can do it.
Ask yourself, what could I use some help with? Then, just ask… You don’t have do it all at once and you don’t have to do it alone.
I’m Janice Otremba, a professional speaker, facilitator and coach who specializes in stress management, health and wellness, personal growth and life balance. Let’s kick your butt into gear with simple, sound advice for beating burnout and powering up your happy. Book a free 15-minute consultation call with me to get started!