Coaches are typically a warm and collaborative bunch, they like to help others, support, encourage and share thoughts, ideas, and resources. To be honest, sometimes we can spend so much time helping others we forget to help ourselves! There’s always a balance to strike. However, I’ve been reminded recently of the power of reaching out and the strength you can gain both emotionally and practically from asking your support network to help or to listen. I’m also continually surprised at who and what comes out of the woodwork when you do!
I was working with a team this week on how to use their collective strengths to deliver their organisational objectives. They’re an incredibly busy team, historically focused on getting their own stuff done! I noticed, however, after spending some quality time together sharing, building connections, understanding new perspectives, sharing thoughts and ideas, suddenly the silo mentalities disappeared, and they started to realise that “I don’t have to do this on my own”. There was a palpable sense of team, togetherness, and optimism in the room, that I didn’t feel when we first met.
Similarly a client of mine, stressed up to the eyeballs with a never ending list of things to-do, sat back after our coaching session and said “why didn’t I just ask them what they wanted, rather than assume I had to do it all. It seems so obvious now.”
Do you ever sit there thinking:
- It’s just quicker to do it myself
- I haven’t got the time to ask for help
- If I get involved in that group/community/team I’ll just end up wasting precious time I don’t have doing things that aren’t useful to me
- There’s nothing anyone else can do or say that’s of any use
Mmm.. me too. We’re all human.
But is it true? When we’re under pressure, feeling stressed or anxious, overwhelmed by the list of to-dos, or have no idea where to start on something, we tend to go inside ourselves, assume we’re the only ones that can fix it, and stop connecting with others. This has been exacerbated over the last year, as we’ve been told to stay at home. Whether you’re a result orientated extrovert, a quality conscious introvert or some other combination of personality traits, reaching out to our support network tends to be the last thing we do in these circumstances.
But when you notice yourself following this pattern, I challenge you to do the complete opposite and reach out to your support network and get involved, on your terms. It doesn’t have to be every single day, it could just be once a month, but reach out because:
- A problem shared is a problem halved
- It might allow you to see the obvious
- A personal recommendation is often more reliable than a google search
- It could save you time, if someone else has already experienced the same
- It’s nice to know you’re not alone and others might be feeling or experiencing the same
- Two heads are better than one
- Innovation and creativity is stimulated by the thoughts and ideas of others, often unknowingly
- Just knowing you’re supported helps you to quieten the inner critic
I had an accountability call with a fellow masters student yesterday. We’re due to submit an assignment shortly. To be honest, I thought I could use that hour more productively elsewhere, but after our conversation I realised I’d had at least 3 new ideas, he’d helped me structure my thoughts for my essay and I felt more energised for the task ahead. One hour well spent. I also reached out to our masters WhatsApp group this morning to see how everyone was getting on and, low and behold, there are many feeling just like me. That’s a relief! Now I don’t feel like I’m on my own.
Who’s in your support group? Have you reached out to them recently? If you gave yourself a chance to think about it, who’s skills, experiences, strengths could you benefit from right now? I’m sure they’d love to hear from you. You don’t have to do it alone.
Please get in touch if you’d like to do some quality thinking together!