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Energy Management Habit 6: Ask for H.E.L.P.

Now, we might be putting all these energy management tools into practice, and still feel deprived of energy. This especially rings true for those of us who experience constantly high and very high levels of stress in their work environment. Sometimes, energy management tools simply cannot balance the sheer amount of stress we are under. So what can we do? Ask for HELP!

Asking for help sounds easy at first, but when was the last time that you asked for help at work? Let’s be honest: asking for help is uncomfortable. Studies show that when we ask for help, the same regions in our brains that alert us to physical pain are activated. The social threats involved in asking for help reach from risk of rejection, uncertainty, decrease of autonomy, and potential for diminished status.

On the other hand, however, asking for help has the potential to really benefit us and those around us. Experiments carried out at Cornell University show that the level of compliance (the rate at which people provided help after being asked for it) was, on average, 48 % higher than expected (Bohns).

Another positive factor associated with asking for help are the emotional benefits for the person helping someone else. In their 2016 study, Park et al. established a neural link between generosity and happiness: when we help people, we ourselves are happier. Next time you feel anxious about asking for help, keep these points in mind!

According to the Harvard Business Review, estimates suggest that a staggering 75% to 90% of the help colleagues give one another is in response to direct appeals. Effectively asking for help enables us to reach our full potential while working with others. Our H.E.L.P. model illustrates the necessary steps to get the help you need:

H: Have the courage to ask for Help if required.

E: Establish who is the best person to reach out to for help.

L: Link-In with them, ask for help & listen to their advice.

P: Plan what you will do post conversation.

 In doing so, make sure that you use the right language. Do not diminish your need by saying “It’s just a small thing…” or “I feel awful for asking, but…”. Instead, implement words like “together” when seeking for help, as it appeals to our sense of social belonging. You can also quote common goals, and point out particular skills of the person you are asking for help, for example by stating “Could you please review this report before I submit it? Your feedback really helped to progress our last project!”.

 One thing that is just as crucial as using the right language is not forgetting to follow up and thanking our helper. Including a “Thanks in advance” as opposed to “Best” at the end of an email can increase the response rate from 51.2 % to 65.7 % (Boomerang). Showing gratitude and acknowledging our colleagues’ work thus contributes to a positive work environment.

 For many, asking for help is still a sign of weakness. We at Making Shift Happen, however, believe that acknowledging that we need help is a strength and skill that needs nurturing, instead of dismissal and negative connotations.

 The advantages of asking for H.E.L.P. are immense, especially when we have exhausted the benefits of the other energy management tools. While it requires courage and a certain level of vulnerability to ask for help, it builds trust and ultimately shows that we are all human. Never before have we gotten a glimpse into our colleagues’ personal lives: we have met their pets, and were guests in their homes during virtual meetings. We experienced first-hand the struggles that all of us go through while we work remotely, juggle home schooling, and not least continue to be exposed to the all-encompassing threat of Covid-19. Keeping this sense of belonging and shared struggle in mind, incorporate the H.E.L.P. strategy into your everyday work lives, and experience the benefits!

Coaches Corner Action Steps:

What actions will you take to take next time you need to ask for help?—get started using these questions:

  • What actions will you take to effectively ask for help?
  • Why will you take these action?
  • How will you implement healthy habits?
  • Who can help you, and who can you help? Exercise with others to help hold yourself accountable!

Reprinted with permission from Jay Chopra, PhD, co-founder and Managing Director of Making Shift Happen and a Herrmann Master Certified Facilitator. Articles written with help from Anne Mahler PhD & David O' Mahony: Read His Full Blog Here.

See prior related blog on Taking Care of Your Body

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