The Struggle is Real
As I get older, I’m developing what I joking refer to as adult onset Attention Deficit Disorder. This is not to make light of those who have attention deficit problems because I’m growing understanding more and more each day just how big a struggle having something akin to ADD can be.
In recent years, it’s gotten much harder for me to concentrate. The smallest sounds break my concentration. So do repetitive sounds. When I’m having a conversation with someone in public, I often have a hard time focusing on the other person when there are people walking around. My eyes are constantly drawn away from the moment toward the motion.
(Even as I write this, I’m sitting in another room of the house with some white noise going so I can concentrate.)
I’m also learning that I get frustrated much more easily nowadays. Some of it is due to the fact that focus has become harder to attain and retain, but also because I can remember the days when it wasn’t like this. There was a time when I could work or read with tons of noise and distractions going on around me and still be highly productive.
Back when we lived in Alaska, one of my responsibilities was directing the Pep Band. Not being a sports fan, I would sit in front of the band with a book and read several chapters during basketball games. I was able to concentrate on the book AND pay enough attention to the game that I never missed a cue when it came time for the band to play.
I once could work listening to music or talk radio, or read a book while the TV was going and people were in the room talking or making noise.
Not so much anymore…
Forgetting I’m Not Alone
What’s all this have to do with asking for help? Well I’d recently been having some extremely frustrating software problems that were impeding my work. A great deal of my frustration was due to the additional distractions going on around me. Over the course of more than a week my frustration grew and I was very nearly at a boiling point.
Then, my wife calmly suggested something I should try doing instead of my usual procedure. Guess what? Her work-around worked great, and in fact is more efficient than my old method anyway.
So why didn’t I just ask for help? I know some of it was due to frustration and my inability to focus, but some of it was due to pride. You see, I’ve always been the computer guru, not only at home, but in most places where I’ve worked or volunteered. I’ve grown accustomed to people coming to me for help with their computer problems, not the other way around.
Sometimes, especially when we’ve been a leader in a certain area or achieved success, we lie and tell ourselves that we don’t need help. We fool ourselves into thinking we know more than enough to get things done, and surely we know better than everyone else. But that’s just not true.
When you find yourself frustrated or stuck, don’t forget that one of the best tools available to you is to ask for help. You might just need to swallow your pride, but isn’t that better than not making any progress at all?
If you’re a leader who’s done a proper job of finding the right people for your team, that means you’ve gathered people who know more about some things that you do. Hopefully you’ve hired people that not only complement your knowledge and skills, but also fill in the gaps where you’re lacking. It should never be an embarrassment to ask a fellow team member for help.
Remember, you’re not alone. Sometimes you just need to ask for help.
Also published on Medium.
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