Too Proud or Self-Conscious to Ask?
Do you cringe at the thought of asking for help, have palpitations before asking a question, or hide away rather than ask for advice? I get it, no really I do. Having those same feelings in my 20 and 30s felt just dire.
Imagine, you’re sitting at your desk looking vacant at a piece of work wondering what on earth you should be doing with it? Maybe you’ve taken a phone enquiry and had no idea what the caller was talking about or you’ve sat in a meeting and felt the rest of the group were talking another language? Or has a work colleague shared some work with you, shown you what to do, you thought you’d got it and then when alone thought ‘what the hell am I doing’?
I hold my hand up to all of the above and probably more from the day I started work all those years ago, and it all came down to either me being too shy, too embarrassed, too self conscious to raise my head above the parapet and simply ask. I mean I would have looked stupid and I certainly didn’t want to feel the hot flush of redness creeping across my face, that would make me look really dumb and vulnerable – wouldn’t it?
Believe me when I say it’s okay to ask the phone enquirer to give a little more detail for you to understand their call, or question your work colleague a few times on how to do something you’ve never done before, tell them you don’t get it, your colleague will find another way to explain to you, maybe more visual or an alternative method. And even in those meetings, be brave, take a breath, raise your hand and ask what they are discussing so you have a better understanding of the discussion. Be honest, say you don’t understand their terminology or whatever it is you’re not getting. People tend to assume you have and will know the answers if you stay quiet and don’t question things. They are not mind readers, they are just like you and the next person. Look around the room, I wonder how many other people are thinking the same as you. You’d be surprised!
You see however small or ridiculous you may think a question, it is NOT STUPID or WRONG. In coaching we are taught no question is a wrong question, again it’s true. I mean if you don’t ask, how on earth would you learn anything. What’s the worst that could happen, the world isn’t going to stop rotating, birds aren’t going to stop singing, and you are still going to be the amazing inquisitive person that you are right now!
Becoming ‘my own boss’ back in my thirties, was probably a massive turning point on the above. It was like a flick of the switch and I became totally relaxed. Twenty plus years of networking, talking to like minded people, guest speaking, training groups and individuals, running events and so much more, gave me the confidence to succeed and be comfortable in what I do and who I am. BUT along the way, there was one big thing that I had to do and overcome …. ask for help and support. The old adage ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ well it’s true in whatever form, working and personal lives. If I hadn’t have put ‘self conscious’ out of reach and grabbed hold of pride I wouldn’t be where I am now.
So go out there today, take a deep breath, relax those shoulders and …. be proud and not too self conscious to ask.