This last couple of weeks at MHA, we have been going the the 360 review process. As the recipient of the review, it can be nerve-wrecking because now you will find out what everyone really thinks of you. I am happy to report that the majority of my review was good, but here was an overarching theme – I need to learn to raise my hand when I need help.

I have always (wrongly) associated asking for help as looking like it was a sign of weakness, laziness, or failure. In fact, it is the opposite. It shows that you know your limits and that you are not afraid to admit what you don’t know. It shows your commitment to doing the job right, getting it done in a timely manner, and wanting to learn and grow in your career. But how do you ask?

I have found an article on Forbes.com that has a 3 step process onhow to ask for help. Try first, then ask for help. You want to make sure that you have tried everything you can think of before asking for help. Not figuring out something on your own isn’t a failure; it just means that you two heads are better than one.

Step two is to not be a martyr. I have to admit, I am frequently guilty of this. I have this nasty little habit of trying to take on way too much and then becoming overwhelmed. Once I get to that point, I don’t even know where to begin or how to prioritize; I shut down. As a result, I end up working some crazy hours and still feel like I have accomplished nothing. I would be better off raising my hand asking for help. This helps to manage expectations as well as to help re-prioritize whatever I’m working on. It you don’t ask for help, it becomes counterproductive and nothing gets done. You spend more time worrying about how you are going to get things done rather than doing the work.

Lastly, make a list a questions or solutions.This shows that you have put forth an effort and have thought about the problem. Then, your manager can help re-prioritize or help to delegate some of the work so that it is more manageable.

Everyday, I am learning and growing professionally. Sometimes, the lesson is small and tactical, and other lessons are larger and abstract. Admitting I needed help with the amount of work on my plate was tough, but a learning experience nonetheless. I learned that it is more beneficial to ask for help then let my work get out of control. Everyone needs help every now and again and there is no shame in asking.