Ask for what you need.

When it is your job to anticipate the needs of your clients, patients and customers, it can hard to turn down that switch when you’re off the clock.  In fact, it can often hinder you from getting what you want.

Allow me to explain…

When I am at work and a patient tells me they feel fine, but their body language, vital signs or affect are telling me differently, I MUST read between the lines.  Often times, the ability to do this will extract more info than perhaps the patient felt was necessary and proves useful in the end to both the patient and medical provider.

Now let’s take this scenario off the clock.  Recently I signed a lease for a new apartment. I did not have the money to pay for movers and absolutely needed the help of friends in order to pull this off.

Prior to asking anyone for help, I made an inventory of all my friends and came up with reasons why asking them for help would be inconsiderate of me.

“This guy has had a bad back, but he won’t say no to me, so I won’t ask.”

“That one just had a move themselves in the last few months, the last thing they need is to help with my move.”

“This one I don’t know that well, but they did offer, but…I don’t want to take advantage of their offer.”

Isn’t that intense???  I made an excuse for every single one of them (before they even had a chance to weigh in). By anticipating the “needs” of everyone I literally had no one left to help me.  So in the end, I was forced to ask people for help (something I, and many caregivers HATE doing. WE are the helpers.  Gross, let’s lose that martyrdom, shall we? Or is that just me.  Okay fine, I will work on that).

Here’s what I learned…

1.) I wasn’t factoring in that some, in fact perhaps ALL, were happy to help

2.) Almost all of the “needs” I was anticipating were not accurate or applicable anyway

  • Bad back guy? Was totally taking care of his back and knew what NOT to lift
  • Person who has just moved?  Knew how stressful moving can be (thanks to their recent move) and was glad to help
  • Person I didn’t know that well who had offered their help?  I got to know better, and became a better friend!

3.) I needed to trust that my friends would have appropriate boundaries and if they couldn’t do something, they WOULDN’T!

4.)  I had to remember, that friends are not my patients so it is NOT my job to anticipate their “supposed” needs.

5.)  And finally I learned that not asking for help was about my own fear of not being independent, appearing needy etc and had actually VERY little do with others….

In the end, I had one of the most seamless moves I’ve ever had.

So if you’re like me, and it’s hard to ask for what you need because of all the reasons I’ve given…take heart that you will most likely be delightfully surprised by the responses and results.

Take care of YOU.


2 Replies to “Ask for what you need.”

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