Posts tagged: Lone Leader

You’re overwhelmed — so why won’t you ask for help?

Lone Leader overwhelmed

Leading by doing — we could write the book. We see the big picture, organize the details, meet the deadlines, and never let them see us sweat.

Yep, we’re on top of it all the time…except when a task veers beyond our arsenal of expertise. But that rarely happens. And since we’re so good at figuring things out, we soldier on, on our own. Until we can’t.

Sometimes the task is too foreign, the time too short, the energy too finite to pull it off. And then we’re stuck acting like a Lone Leader, trying to operate without the necessary support.

There are at least three reasons a Lone Leader prefers to operate solo, even when overwhelmed. Knowing which one you’re prone to is the first step toward being able to issue an SOS. Take our mini-quiz to find out your
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The Full Monty: Gaz gets unstuck as a Lone Leader

His stuck moment: Gaz is an unemployed steel worker who can’t afford his child support payments and risks losing contact with his son, Nathan. After sneaking into a visiting Chippendale’s performance, he brainstorms creating a similar male strip tease act, but lacks the talent to pull it off.

He rallies his resources: Gaz hold auditions in the abandoned steel mill, and then recruits his former boss to teach the crew to dance.

Unstuck result: After he’s exposed by the police, Gaz throws in the towel, but his recruited cohorts convince him to perform to a sold-out audience, where he earns the respect of his ex-wife and much-needed
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Question: What do you risk when you ask for help?

We all want to be a rock star in what we pursue, and that appears to be a solo act. So if we ask for help we might have to share the stage. We might appear less competent or imperfect. Worse of all, someone might shine brighter than we do.

Those fears are real, but they’re not reality. The truth is, if you don’t get the help you need, you might not achieve your goal as well as you’d like — or at all. You lose the chance to learn, to be generous, to build comaraderie. But you do get to own the stress, 100 percent.

Unstuck’s “Call in the Cavalry” tool lets you figure out what kind of help you need. If you’re on your iPad, click to go directly to the tool (this won’t work if you’re using Unstuck on the web). Or download the free Unstuck iPad app
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Unstuck is about accepting help

Remember that time when you were barely keeping your head above water, and all signs pointed to sink rather than swim? We’ve all been there in one sense or another. And maybe we were fortunate enough to have someone extend us a hand, prompting a mix of relief and gratitude. And possibly surprise. For those of us who get stuck acting like Lone Leaders, seeking or accepting help doesn’t come easily. But when we do, the reward is two-fold. Because helping someone out of a jam is just as satisfying as being
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How we get stuck as a Lone Leader

Calling all over-achievers: Listen up! This type of stuck moment often lands on you.

You’re used to going above and beyond, whatever the task — by definition, that’s what you do. And those around you are used to it as well. Everyone expects it.

But now and again, a project seems to get the better of you. It may be too big (“This will take forever to do by myself”). It may have snuck up during an especially hectic time (“I’m spread too thin”). It may require knowledge that you don’t have (“This is beyond me”).

And then you’re stuck, acting like a Lone Leader. The antidote is amazingly simple. Ask for help. So why don’t we?

Lots of reasons. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

• “It’s easier to do it myself.”

• “I don’t want to appear incompetent.”

• “I’ll look like I’m needy.”

• “It will be used against me.”

• “They might think I’m
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The art of asking for help

Ready to stop acting like a Lone Leader and ask for some help? Bravo! Now, how exactly will you do that? Follow these five thoughtful steps and your graciousness will be nearly impossible to turn down.

• Think through exactly what kind of help you need. You want to be specific and direct, giving the reason behind your request. For instance:

“I’ve always admired your garden, and this year I’m determined to grow my own vegetables. I’ve done a lot of research, but I could use your help in selecting the right seeds and planning my plot.”

If you’re not sure of the specifics, Unstuck’s “Call in the Cavalry” tool will let you zero in on exactly who and what kind of help you need.

• Try to find a benefit for the helper. For instance:

“When the tomatoes ripen, I’d love to make my famous Caprese salad for you.”

• If at all possible,
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5 big benefits of asking for help

How to stop being a reluctant confronter

Have you ever noticed that some of the most capable people we know don’t seem capable of asking for help? And maybe, just maybe, one of them is you? In Unstuck speak, we call this acting like a Lone Leader.

To get unstuck, it takes a shift in how you think so you can change how you act. Lone Leaders tend to think that needing help makes them vulnerable in some way. The risk of tarnishing their (self) image blocks the path that can be receptive to assistance.

To begin revising thoughts from help=bad to help=better, consider these amazing rewards of letting someone else into your struggle.

  1. Relationship building. Just imagine the smart, connected people you could meet if you put out the call for help. Or, if the assistance comes from someone you know, your bond will get stronger, more familiar, more relaxed and satisfying.
  2. Happiness giving. Plainly put, people like to
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The smartest people we know count on others

Where’s the shame in asking for assistance? Knowing what you can and cannot do should be a badge of honor — recognizing your strengths allows you to focus on them. And yet, so many of us effortlessly get stuck acting like a Lone Leader, thinking it will be easier or better if we do it all ourselves. Meanwhile, a reality check would show us that we’re not getting where we need or want to be. 

The good news for us Lone Leaders is that getting unstuck is as simple as asking the right people to lend you a
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