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Mustering the Courage to Ask for Help as an Entrepreneur
Business owners are an independent lot. That’s part of what makes us ideal candidates for the whole entrepreneurial roller coaster. The truth of the matter is, however, we can’t do it all ourselves. We can only stretch ourselves so thin before something snaps, upsetting whatever kind of balance we’ve struck between our personal and professional lives.
It doesn’t come naturally to many entrepreneurs to ask for help, even though, from time to time, we could all use a hand. Whether we’re struggling to find the time away from work for our family when they need us or tearing ourselves away from personal obligations to attend to urgent work - we can so easily feel like we’re on the losing end of a tug of war. Our allegiance is split and we feel inadequate in both arenas. Why, then, is it so difficult to ask for help?
The answer is that we’re afraid to admit that we can’t do it all. To admit that truth feels like losing - and losing is not an option for entrepreneurs. How can we overcome our own fear and reach out for the help we need to keep our life - all aspects of it - in better balance? Here are some strategies that may help:
Express your feelings assertively - When you first feel yourself feeling overwhelmed, resist the urge to bite the bullet and keep it to yourself. By explaining that you’re having trouble keeping up or getting things done, you may find unexpected understanding and perhaps even volunteers who will step up and help. Accepting help from someone who offers to step up in your hour of need may be easier than coming right out and asking for assistance.
Break down the underlying issue - Assess precisely what you need help with - Is it more time that you need? Resources? Manpower? Any one need can cause other areas to suffer. Determine your biggest pain point and work on easing that first. With that one off your plate, other things may fall back into better balance.
Re-conceptualize your need - Realize that you probably are doing more than you need to at work and at home. Delegate some more work to your staff to free up time. Don’t think of it as relinquishing your responsibilities to an employee - think of it as giving an employee a promotion. The same goes on the homefront. It may be time to get the kids more involved on household chores to take some responsibility off you. You’re not slacking off, but rather teaching the children responsibility and important life skills.
Even though we’re an independent lot, entrepreneurs need not lack the courage to ask for help. Needing assistance isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that we recognize when things are out of balance. And no one can perform well when the elements of their life aren’t balanced.