For women, asking for help feels like a four letter word. Getting help somehow makes us feel like we are failing or that we’re not enough – not strong enough, not smart enough, not caring enough, not organized enough, not _____________ enough (fill in the blank).
As a result, we think the most successful people we know were born with some magical superpower to “get it all done” themselves. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
If you haven’t already, this is a great time to download the Working Women’s Guide to Lasting Work-Life Balance.
Several years ago, I remember being in a meeting at Cricket Wireless where Jennifer Van Buskirk was the President and led the stand up of Cricket as a spin off from AT&T. First of all – what an amazing leader!!! I was invited in to speak with approximately 20 of her senior leaders about Women in Technology. I was impressed by two things: 1) She had a room full of female leaders and 2) They all had help.
Before the meeting, we got on the topic of our support systems at home. More than half of the women had husbands that stayed home and helped with the kids and house and the other half had “wives” they hired to help with all of the things a woman traditionally did in the home. As a result, I went home that week and hired someone to help me. As a result, I spent more quality time with my family at the end of the day and especially on the weekends.
What I quickly realized, is that there are a million little and big ways to get help. I would argue that every woman who loves their career and wants to continue to grow needs a tribe of support. I guarantee that most of the women you admire who are doing amazing things and pursuing their dreams and goals – have help.
First things first. Be honest with yourself and take the time to identify where you need help. Start by making a list of all of the things you currently do in a week’s time and prioritize what you 1) don’t enjoy or want to do anymore or 2) give you the most leverage of your time and energy.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
-Making travel arrangements
-Managing your calendar
-Picking up dry cleaning
-Taking the dogs to the vet
-Paying bills (I personally outsourced this to my hubby this year – Hallelujiah!)
Start with your family members. Share your list with your partner and kids and ask them to take an item or two off your list. Explain your intent behind your ask and how this will help you spend more quality time together, help you finish a very important project, or make time to do something you need to do to further your career or business or pursue as a lifelong dream like running a marathon or walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Make them part of your support system.
Ask for resources at work. Is an admin or department that is dedicated to helping with travel, or a person who wants to develop skills that by helping you, they can grow?
Ask your friends or neighbors. Utilize moms and dads – share the load and take turns helping one another. Use the Nextdoor app to get referrals to college students or vendors in your neighborhood.
Community resources. Your church, the local community center, the after school program at school – There are resources readily available in your area that can lighten your load.
Hire someone. There are a ton of services available to support every item on your list. Be resourceful. Everything is Figure-Outable as Marie Forleo says.
Don’t assume that the person who is helping knows exactly where to lighten your load. Be specific. I’ll give you an example: My cleaners are like family. I realized I would spend hours on the weekend washing and folding (WTH with folding the fitted sheets?) and putting away the sheets after they stripped the beds. I asked if they would mind doing the sheets for me each week. The truth is, Cinthia is the master of the fitted sheet and since she was at the house for 3-4 hours a week, she didn’t mind at all. $10/load is what that cost me. For another $30, I got half of my Saturday back. Win-Win!
Think about what you need done, how frequently you need it done and how you want it done to bring the most relief. Don’t shy away from asking for adjustments over time based on your expectations. I.e. – Would you mind picking up the kids every week for the next four weeks while I am traveling? When you are dropping off the dry cleaning can you unbag the cleaning and arrange it by short/long sleeve and color (don’t judge), could you drop this package by an Amazon locker for me? Would you do a quick inventory before shopping to be sure I didn’t miss anything on the list?
Appreciation is key to a happy marriage. Thank you love for doing the dishes tonight. Thank you honey for taking my car for an oil change so I could get this blog written today. You did a great job babe on the ribs tonight – yummy dinner!
The same goes for your neighbors, kids, co-workers. Sincerely recognize a job well done and thank people often. A handwritten note, a gift card, a small token of thanks – whatever your unique expression of thank you is – do it! A genuine, heartfelt thanks tied to letting people know the impact their help made on you goes a long way!
Without help, your potential to succeed at higher levels and thrive will be limited. So stop today, take action and start getting help so you can be all you were meant to be! And download the Working Woman’s Guide to Lasting Work-Life Balance for more ideas.
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