Personal development

How To Ask For Help Effectively

Asking for help is so hard for me. I shared it with my therapist last week and he encouraged me to practice it until our next appointment. In fact, over the next three weeks, my assignment is to ask for help.

Asking for help makes me feel uncomfortable, mostly because I’m afraid of being rejected. As a result, I prefer to avoid it and do things on my own. It pays to ask for help, whether we’re searching for a mentor or just looking for feedback on our work.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is uncomfortable asking for help, therefore I’d want to share the solutions I’ve found.

Here are my takeaways from Dr. Heidi Grant, a social psychologist who studies, writes about, and speaks on leadership and motivation science. Heidi Grant provides four basic rules to follow when asking for help in order to maximize our chances of receiving it:

  1. Be very specific
  2. Avoid apologies and bribes
  3. Do it in person
  4. Follow up afterward with people who say yes

Be very specific

Be very specific about the help you need and why. When someone doesn’t know what you’re asking for, they can’t tell if they can help you. That’s because people are afraid of offering bad help. So, say exactly what you want and allow them to determine whether or not they are able and willing to do so. Even if they can’t help you directly, they may connect you to someone who can.

Avoid disclaimers, apologies, and bribes

It is a natural part of a relationship for people to help one another. It’s how we show our care. So, stay away from disclaimers, apologies, and incentives. Your connection becomes less personal and more transactional as a result of these actions.

Do it in person

Do not request help by email or text; in-person requests are more likely to be granted. According to a study, requests for help made in person are 30 times more likely to get a yes than ones made by email.

Follow up afterward, that’s crucial

What is rewarding about helping is knowing that you were effective. Giving help only feels good when you know it had an impact. If you want people to continue to help you in the long run, take the time to tell them clearly how much they helped you.

These ideas may be simple, but they really do work. Give them a try and Please let me know if this works and if you have any suggestions or comments.

A Better Workplace Personal development

Celebrate the Positive Aspects of Your Failure

When we make a mistake in our creative work, we tend to hide it from others or even from ourselves. Overall, people see failure as an unpleasant experience. But isn’t it true that failure is all about the human mindset and thought patterns?

What if we gave our team a new definition of failure?

Failure means you’ve reached a new goal, and you are ready for your next attempt. Failure indicates that you have had the chance to learn about the skills that you need to develop. And failing means you’ve proven dedication to something important to you.

In fact, if you fail rarely, you may lose motivation. According to University of Arizona research, there is an optimal failure rate: if you fail 15% of the time, you will improve your learning, keep trying, and stay motivated.

Working on important and risky projects makes individuals naturally uncomfortable. If you want to make your team comfortable and achieve great results, encourage them to think outside the box and make failure a cause for celebration. So, create a learning environment for your team that celebrates the positive aspects of failure and promotes growth.

Astro Teller, CEO of X (formerly Google X), focuses on great dreams, visions, and strategies in a TED Talk, and put things in a shockingly new perspective. He shares how, by celebrating failure, his team, the “moonshot factory,” is able to enjoy working on risky and innovative ideas to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems by attempting outlandish experiments and daring to fail.

If there’s an Achilles’ heel in one of our projects, we want to know it now, upfront, not way down the road.

Astro Teller

how failure can be positive?

  • People who fail frequently learn perseverance in the face of adversity. Thomas Edison is well known for inventing the incandescent light bulb, among many other important achievements during the Age of Electricity. He is claimed to have tried a thousand different filaments before finding one that worked.
  • People who are successful continue to do the same thing. They are obliged to adapt and alter when they fail.
  • Bounce back after failing makes you mentally stronger and those who come back from failure gain a deeper understanding of why they failed.
  • Failure challenges you to rethink your strategy and explore something different by ‘thinking outside the box.’
  • Admitting that you have failed, allows you to cancel a project early enough to save time and money. It may also allow you to choose an alternative path to achieve your goal.

Never underestimate failure’s magical power. You can’t be afraid of failure if you want to reach your full potential and become your personal best. Fear will only keep you from giving all that you have.

Thank for reading! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about failure.

A Better Workplace Personal development

Don’t let a colleague steal your time!

Why do we say yes to so many meetings when not all of them are useful? How many of you have been at a meeting and then returned to your desk wishing you had those hours back? Do you have any idea how many hours of mindless time-wasting take place in the meeting room? You’re not alone!

According to Wolf Management Consultants, unproductive meetings cost professionals 31 hours per month or nearly four workdays per month. According to research, half of the 11 million meetings that occur in the United States every day are a waste of time.

“Every day we allow our co-workers, who are otherwise very, very nice people, to steal from us, and I’m talking about something far more valuable than office furniture,” said David Grady. “I’m talking about time. Your time.”

In his talk, How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings, David invites you to consider a simple situation: imagine it’s Monday morning. You’ve just arrived at work. This guy, who you’ve seen around, goes straight into your desk and steals your chair.

He doesn’t say anything. Simply grab your chair and move with it. He doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility that you could need the chair. That you might need it to finish some tasks. It’s a situation you probably wouldn’t stand. What you would do, is follow that guy back to his cubicle and claim the chair back. You wouldn’t even consider otherwise.

Now, on Tuesday morning, a meeting invitation pops up in your calendar. It’s from this woman that you kind of know from down the hall and this meeting subject is something you’ve heard a little about. There’s no agenda, no clear explanation of why you should be included. Yet, you accept the invitation, and you go.

When the very unproductive meeting ends, you return to your desk and wish you could get the 2 hours back.

You should be concerned with how productive you and your team are. And the key to doing so is to define your priorities and then stick to them every day so that you can conclude your week feeling you couldn’t have done much more to help the team reach its goals.

Grady says this is part of a “global epidemic” known as MASMindless Accept Syndrome, which he defines as “an involuntary reflex in which a person accepts a meeting invitation without even thinking why. A common illness among office workers worldwide.”

MAS (noun): Mindless Accept Syndrome. An involuntary reflex in which a person accepts a meeting invitation without even thinking why. A common illness among office workers worldwide.

David Grady

How can we stop automatically saying yes to unproductive meetings?

Here is two responses Grady highlighted:

  1. Push the maybe button on meeting invitations that don’t have a lot of information in them at all.
  2. Get in touch with the person who asked you to come to the meeting. Ask them what the goal of the meeting is and how you can help them achieve the goal.

And if we do this frequently and respectfully enough, people might start to be a little more attentive about how they put together meeting invitations.

People just might start to change their behavior because you changed yours.

So, make sure that the number of things you have to accomplish throughout the day matches the amount of time you have to do them, not the timeframe you’re awake during the day. and say NO to the unrelated and unproductive meetings!

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

A Better Workplace Personal development

I think about Parkinson’s law every time I have a deadline.

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s law? Every time I have a deadline, I think about it.

It’s one of the thousands of time management tools that are supposed to help us get more done in less time and increase our productivity. In other words, Parkinson’s law says that work expands to fill the available time.

For example, if a professor gives a project deadline, we usually begin working on it seriously a week or two before the deadline and stay up late at night with a lot of stress. The interesting thing is that our brain’s ability to analyze and learn, as well as our body’s function, will increase significantly during these remaining hours, resulting in quick results, but not necessarily the best quality results.

What is Parkinson’s Law?

Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” It is sometimes applied to the growth of bureaucracy in an organization but can be applicable to all forms of work.

Parkinson, Cyril Northcote (19 November 1955). “Parkinson’s Law”. The Economist. London.

Parkinson’s Law is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. Cyril Northcote Parkinson invented the word in the opening line of an essay in “The Economist” in 1955.

Parkinson uses the example of an old lady whose only job for the day is to send a postcard to her niece. a task that would take a busy person around three minutes to do. However, the woman spends an hour hunting for the card, another half hour looking for her glasses, 90 minutes writing the card, and 20 minutes deciding whether or not to bring an umbrella with her on her walk to the mailbox… Because she has nothing better to do, the simple task consumes her entire day.

We plan based on how much time we have, and when the deadline is, if something needs to be done next week, we will do it next week. If it has to be done tomorrow, it will be done tomorrow. We begin to make choices and tradeoffs in order to finish the assignment before the deadline.

How can we make Parkinson’s work for us?

  1. Decide on three important tasks for the day. Remember that while you’re making a list of three activities, choose the three that have the highest priority and will have the greatest impact on your ultimate goal.
  2. Calculate the time required to complete these three tasks based on previous experience and expected workload.
  3. Divide the time allotted in the second phase for each task by two. For example, instead of devoting 12 hours to completing a task, devote only 6 hours to completing it.
  4. Start doing the task and, at the end of the day, evaluate if the timing was enough or unrealistic, how much of each task was done, and how much of our productivity was reached. This analysis will assist us in making plans for tomorrow.

When we set limitations for ourselves, our thoughts will adjust to the situation. Our minds do tasks that would normally take 12 hours in 6 hours by paying less attention to notifications or spending less time on social media.

According to Eldar Shafir, a Princeton professor, and Scarcity co-author, “When you have a deadline it’s like a storm ahead of you or having a truck around the corner. It’s menacing and it’s approaching, so you focus heavily on the task.” And “If you’re focusing so heavily on a big project you may at the same time forget to pick up your kid from school, your mom’s birthday, to feed the dog, etc. That may be the price you pay for the success you’re achieving with your focus.”

So, if Parkinson’s hypothetical old lady had set a deadline for herself, she would have completed writing letters faster. But, because she had nothing else to do for the rest of the day, she completed it just in time.

Are there any areas of your life that are open-ended, without any sort of limitation? Leave your comment below.