Courtney Elmer, host of The Systems Made Simple™ Podcast shares how to ask for help without feeling guilty. She explains what not asking for help can cost you mentally and financially.
If you know you need help when it comes to growing your business but aren’t sure how to get it, then listen closely to this episode because I’m going to show you how to get the support you need.
The faster you can hone the skill of recognizing when you need help, then learning how to ask for help, the faster you’ll grow — plain and simple.
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING TO TODAY’S EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:
PLUS I’ll let you in on one neat psychology trick that makes asking for help easier and (almost always) guarantees you an emphatic “yes!”
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You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode # 16 which is all about how to ask for help and productivity in life.
How to ask for, and get the help you need. Because if I could go back and start my biz over with a clean slate, one of the things I’d do would be to ask for help more often, even when I don’t think I need it. Learning how to do this has been the biggest game-changer in my business, hands down.
And that’s why today, we’re going to talk about
So, if you’re ready to learn how to get the support you need so you can take your growth to the next level, stay tuned!
Welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast! I have a feeling today’s topic will really resonate with you, because it’s something I KNOW you’ve struggled with before, because I think it’s something we’ve ALL struggled with across the board, at one point or another.
In fact, I periodically reach out to our community to ask you what you want to see me cover here on the show, and hands down this is one of the most requested topics. That’s why I ask! I would have never known you guys wanted to know about this, and since it is so frequently requested, I first just need to acknowledge that you are not alone.
Asking for help can feel HARD, especially when you’ve been doing it all yourself for so long. It can be tough to realize where you even need help, and then when you do realize some areas that you could use some support, it’s like omg, where do I get it? how do I even ask for it? And then for some, they ask for it, and there’s a breakdown in communication somewhere along the way so it doesn’t work out the way they expected it to, and they wind up back at square one, where they were in the first place, doing it on their own with no help.
So don’t worry! I’ve got your back. Seriously, thinking back to the early days of my business with no experience and no budget to hire it, I had to figure out a LOT of things on my own. I didn’t know how to ask for help which impacted my productivity in life. And I can tell you this: the faster you can hone this skill of first, RECOGNIZING when and where you need help, and then second knowing how to ASK for it, the faster you’ll grow. There’s just no other way to say it. If you feel like you’ve been stuck and spinning your wheels, then I want you to listen really closely to this episode, and come back and RElisten to it, because I WISH I had acquired this knowledge sooner than I did because it’s been the biggest game changer in my business. So the sooner you learn it, and take ACTION on it, the better.
And because asking for help, and knowing what even to ask for help with is such a huge struggle for so many people, I thought it might help if I shared the concrete methods I use to determine WHAT I need help with and HOW to ask for it without feeling guilty, so that YOU can stop playing the shame game and feeling guilty for having to ask, and simply start asking for (and getting) the help you need, too.
But before we do that! I’ve gotta give a shout out to our featured listener of the week: Rene @pureandcoco. Rene says: I LOVE how Courtney shares tips you can implement right away and shares real actionable tips. Her perspective on life, work, and parenthood and appreciating the life we have is REFRESHING. Rene, thank you SO much for these kind words, and if you would do us a favor and DM us over on IG to let us know your best shipping address, we have a little something to drop in the mail to you as our way of saying thank you for being one of our loyal listeners. And remember! When you leave us a 5-star review we might just feature YOU as our listener of the week and give you a shout out!
Ok so diving into this juicy topic today -- how to ask for help and productivity in life. I thought I’d by start by sharing with you one of the questions I get asked most often from our students and clients:
“Where do I even begin when it comes to hiring help and getting support? I KNOW I should outsource more... but I’ve always had a hard time asking for help. I feel like if I don’t do it, it won’t get done right!! And sometimes, I feel like it’s just faster to do it myself rather than train someone else to do it how I want it.” Raise your hand if you can relate.
I get it. Outsourcing, delegating, getting support, hiring staff, asking for help… whatever you call it, the bottom line is this: it’s a serious struggle for us high-achievers to let things go. So many of us don’t know how to ask for help and know the negative impact it can have on our productivity in life.
There’s no shame in admitting it. We’re so conditioned to believe that somehow the more we do, the more we matter.
So we pile more on our plate because having a lot to do makes us feel productive, but it’s just an illusion of productivity. In reality, this makes you feel like you're underachieving, since you're never fully completing anything.
It’s EASY to trick ourselves into thinking we can handle it all on our own as high-achieving, independent women. After all, it’s even easier to justify it, telling yourself it’s better/faster if you do it, because you can’t afford to make mistakes. But let’s face it. It’s not really a letting go issue. It’s a trust issue. Unfortunately, most women fail to ask for help before they desperately need it -- after things start spiraling out of control and they have no other choice but to ask for help. The truth is, you can only carry so much for so long. Let me be honest with you: one of the biggest “secrets” to my success (and also the hardest lesson for me to learn) has been owning the reality that I can’t do it all.
None of us truly can. So if you’re relating to anything I’m saying right now, Here’s your gentle reminder: the things you’re holding onto are likely the things that are holding you back, because the magic you’re looking for is often in the thing you’re avoiding.
Yes it takes humility, and a desire to let go of your ego and LEARN. Let’s stop proving our worth through trying to do it all, shall we? It’s time to maximize your influence, income, and impact without maxing out your time, energy, or effort. And today I’m going to give you the first steps to get the support you need so you can lighten up your workload, right now. I’m going to teach you how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
First things first: Are you telling yourself you have to be the one doing all the things on your plate because you HAVE to? or are you telling yourself you “have to” do it, because you’re afraid of what’ll happen if you don’t?
Let me ask you that again. Are you telling yourself you have to, because only you can? Or because you're afraid of what’ll happen if YOU don’t.
I get it. You’re working as hard as you can, and progress STILL feels painfully slow. You can’t afford to make mistakes, and any wrong move might cost you resources that you don’t have: time, money, mental energy, emotional energy… You don’t know how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
That’s a tough place to be. And I’ve been there more times than I’d like to count. So if you’ve been resisting outsourcing or delegating, but resent what’s on your plate it’s time to flip the script. This one mindset shift will dramatically improve your productivity in life. Ready for it?
You have to allow yourself to receive the help. You have to GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO RECEIVE IT.
Asking for help isn’t the issue. It’s the guilt trip you’re giving yourself and the ways you’re beating yourself up for having to ask for it, because of a story you’re telling yourself that you SHOULD be able to handle it all.
Repeat after me: My worth is NOT measured by how much I accomplish in a day. Say it! My worth is NOT measured by how much I accomplish in a day. It’s time to stop playing the shame game. Because see, the things you’re holding onto are usually the things that are holding you back. This is why it’s important to learn how to ask for help to maximize productivity in life.
Operating your business based out of fear of making a wrong move, or making a mistake that slows you down is not what you need to be afraid of. The only thing to really be afraid of is being in the exact same place one year from now as you are today.
And one of the ways I’ve found it helpful to realize that NOT asking for help actually SLOWS down my progress is to look at how much it’s costing you to do it all yourself.
The staggering cost of NOT asking for help (and why it’s not quicker to do it yourself). This is ESPECIALLY true when you’re self-employed because your time becomes so much more valuable to you than ever before. Lost time means lost dollars.
But have you ever considered how many DOLLARS you’re losing by spending all your TIME doing everything? It’s time to learn how to ask for help to maximize productivity in life.
At some level, we all have an internal gauge for how much our time is worth. For example, if someone offers to pay you $0.07 for one hour of work, you would immediately decline. Meanwhile, if someone offers to pay you $7,000 for one hour of work, you would immediately accept. The problem is, there’s often a ton of beliefs under the surface that prevent us from acknowledging our worth, and few people ever spend the TIME to calculate how much their TIME is actually worth. Now, learning how to estimate how much an hour of your time is worth is really a topic for a whole ‘nother episode.
Here’s the bottom line: when you run the numbers, it’s NOT actually faster, quicker, or cheaper to do things yourself. Whether you sell products, or services, it doesn’t matter. If someone can do a job for less money per hour than you make in an hour, then it SAVES YOU MONEY AND TIME TO OUTSOURCE IT. It’s important to learn how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
My hourly rate is FAR MORE than the $15/month it costs me to have my groceries delivered, or the $50/hr it costs me to have my house cleaned. I could spend 4 hours on a Saturday cleaning my house, which would be the equivalent of $200, or I can go out and make $500 - $1000 in one hour of my time coaching clients.
PLUS, having my house cleaned, my groceries delivered, and my meals prepped makes me happier and less stressed, which in turn makes my family happier and less stressed. So aside from calculating what your time is worth, you have to ask yourself: What do I want to be doing in my life, that I’m missing out on, by operating from this belief that I have to do it all myself?
If you want to put your energy toward scrubbing toilets bc you love it, more power to you! But if you’d rather put that energy toward doing something that makes you money and leaves you feeling more energized and inspired, then do that. You have to learn how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
Here’s the thing: most peoples’ lives and businesses are like a bucket, riddled with holes.
They spin their wheels trying to fill the bucket, yet it’s a waste of energy because (little do they realize) that energy is just leaking out everywhere.
The fix? You have to plug the holes. And to do that, you have to identify WHERE your energy is going in the course of a day.
The easiest way I’ve found to keep track of where my energy is going is to save a little space on my day planner to write down all the things in a day that frustrate me, suck a lot of time, or things that I just don’t enjoy doing.
This helps me see what I need to delegate or delete altogether so that I can spend my energy intentionally on things that give me more energy vs drain what energy I have.
1. Identify where your energy is leaking out
2. Plug the holes (delegate, delete, automate, etc.)
3. Learn how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life
It’s not so much a money or time issue as it is an energy issue. Growth that depends solely on your effort will always be stunted. And that’s exactly why you’re here, listening to me right now, so I can show you how to create a life that doesn’t depend solely on your time, your energy, or your effort, which are all limited resources.
So start outsourcing those things that DRAIN you, so that you can focus more of your energy and attention on the things that energize you and light you up! This brings me to my next point:
Despite the story you may be telling yourself in your head, it doesn't cost a fortune to start getting little things off your plate. Think of the trade-off. How much happier and less stressed will you feel when that thing is off your plate?
Something that was helpful to me when I first considered outsourcing was that it can actually be looked at as a form of generosity and kindness. Of pay-it-forward-ness. A way to give to people in your community, to support their businesses and their families, and put food their table and a roof over their head and support their livelihood just as you want people to buy goods and services from YOU so you can enjoy the same comforts! It creates a true win-win. They help you, you help them.
I realize my time is abundant and I’m mindful of when I choose to waste it on little tasks that don’t generate revenue, like scheduling social media posts or replying to email inquiries. Sure it has to get done… but NOT BY YOU.
There are some really amazing resources I use often to find people who are ready and willing to take those tasks off your plate, saving you SO much time and freeing up your energy to get out there and generate more money! So, you have to learn how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
Onlinejobs.ph is where we’ve connected with the most amazing people, some of whom we’ve now hired on as our VAs, Video Editor, and Podcast Producer and who are all doing STELLAR work for us on an ongoing basis. Upwork.com and Fiverr are both great resources for one-time projects. These platforms help you learn how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
We’ll link up to all this in the show notes. That awesome intro you hear on my podcast? That was a Fiverr gig. The slide deck for my last live webinar? That was an Upwork project.
The social media posts that go out every day like clockwork? Those are all scheduled by my VA. Emails? My personal assistant handles most of those.
This video? Edited by my INCREDIBLE video editor who makes me look good on camera.
These are some of my favorite outsourcing tools you can start using right now, especially if you have a limited budget
And start SMALL. I have a team of 4. I call it tiny but mighty. But I didn’t start with 4! I started with 1. And even that was a game-changer! Because guess what — it helped me hey out in front of my business to spend my time on the money-making activities that only I can do like hosting retreats and events and speaking on stage and coaching clients, so I started bringing in more income, that I’ve reinvested in my business by hiring more people.
Now, the excuses I hear a lot for outsourcing come in many different forms:
No one can do it as well as I can
If I outsource this, it won’t get done right
I want it done right the first time
I’m the only one who can do it right
I feel I’m the only person who can do all the things.
It’ll take longer for me to teach someone how to do what I need to be done than it would if I just did it myself
I can do it faster if I just get it done myself
I don’t have the money to hire new people
I don’t have the energy to train new people
I want to focus on one thing at a time, but there are so many things that need my attention
I have a hard time letting go
I don’t know about you, but can you hear how disempowering all of these statements are? None of these statements are spoken from someone with the mindset of a CEO. All of these will prevent you from learning how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
And this is why when you learn to ask for help, you move from a position of DISEMPOWERMENT to EMPOWERMENT. This is also why asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Ok so we’ve covered a lot and I hope by now we can both agree that your time is worth more than the value you’re placing on it right now by doing all the things. And maybe your ego is trying to push back on me a little bit, saying no Courtney, it IS faster if I do it myself or I actually DON’T have the money to hire someone to do it for me. But that’s a problem--you need to know how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.
Ok. Consider this: how else will you get the help you need, if you don’t start asking for it? If you don’t allow yourself to ask for it? If what you’re doing right now isn’t working, and you know it isn’t sustainable, where will you be one year from now if you keep doing the same thing, hoping for different results?
What’s the worst that can happen? You ask for help and get told no? You try something new and it doesn’t work? What are your options then? You can look at it and say, see, I told you so, I knew it wouldn’t work! And allow that decision to reinforce your old pattern of behavior. OR, you can approach this with curiosity and ask, what if? What IF I were able to get the help and support I need? What would that do for me? What would that do for my business? What IF it doesn’t work out the first time? What can I learn and apply from it, so that I get a better result next time? What if I learned how to ask for help to maximize productivity in life?
It’s not about the resources you have - it’s about how creative and resourceful you can be when it comes to getting the help you need. Just get started, even if it means trading services. And even if you’re on board with everything I’ve shared with you so far, here’s where I usually get this question. But, HOW do I ask for help? How can I maximize productivity in life?
When it boils down to it sometimes we don’t know where to begin bc it’s something that feels foreign. I’ve never asked for help before or you’ve got this story that you’re not good at asking for help, so, therefore, you feel overwhelmed and therefore you don’t know where to start.
So I have two things for you that’ll be helpful here. First, a psychology trick that makes asking for help easier and (almost always) guarantees you an emphatic “yes!”
And second, recognizing that it’s about shifting a HABIT. Now I’ll just touch on these two key points here because there are great resources out there on both that you can go look up if you want — just google the xerox study and look up James Clear’s blog or book on atomic habits or Charles Duhigg’s book the power of habit. We’ll link up to this in the show notes too.
So the first thing you want to do is recognize that you’re shifting a habit. From going to not asking for help, or not asking for it consistently to asking for it more often, you’re actually changing a pattern of behavior. You can’t just do it once and expect that it’ll stick. So put some little reminders where you will see them. Keeping track of where your energy is going in a day and how much of it is going toward the things you don’t like as I described earlier is key. Then thoughtfully reviewing it and identifying one area you want to get some help in. That’s one way.
Another way is getting a reminder in your phone that goes off 1x a week, maybe on Sunday, reminding yourself to look for one thing you can ask for help on this week-- actually that’s a great idea, I need to do this too. Let’s do it together.
Little things like that. This will help support you in creating a new habit, because if you look up those resources I mentioned or if you know anything about how habits are formed, it takes time to require those neural pathways in your brain, so don’t just try it once and give up. If nothing else, simply make the commitment to yourself that you’re going to keep trying until it sticks.
Ok and now for the little psychology trick. I love this one. If you google the Xerox study you’ll learn why this works so well. But I’ll give you the cliff notes. When you go to ask someone for help, instead of just saying that you need help, tell the person why you need help because…
That keyword, ‘because’ makes all the difference. Again, you can go read about this study, which is really fascinating. The people that added the word ‘because’ when they asked someone for help dramatically increased their chances of actually receiving that help.
So I practice this with my family members when I need help. And if they’re listening to this now they know my secret haha. Instead of saying, hey can you help me watch AJ sometime this week? I’ll say, hey can you help me watch AJ for a few hours this week, because (and give a legitimate reason). Some weeks I have deadlines to meet, or more on my plate than usual, so I’ll briefly share WHY I need the help, which increases my chances of me getting the help that I need. Simply because of how we’re wired as humans, and we want to help each other, yet we also want a reason for things, we want to know why. This is also why other than the word ‘no’ a two-year old’s favorite word is why. We’re wired to want to know why. So use this to your advantage. It’s not to manipulate anyone, it’s not to somehow coerce people into helping you. It’s to simply and honestly explain why you need the help, which will increase your chances of you getting it.
DANG ok so we covered a lot on how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life.. I hope this was helpful for you. Do me a favor, let me know your biggest takeaway on how to ask for help. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, share it to your IG stories with your biggest AHA from this episode, and tag us @theeffortlesslife.co. Share one way that you are going to take action on what you just learned this week. Because I guarantee you, there are people in your community who look up to you, they look to you for advice, and guidance, and they watch you. And chances are they could use some help and some tips on getting it too. So keep leading by example and share it with them and help them get the help they need, too.
Ok, guys, that does it for today on how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life. I hope you learned something new about how to ask for help and maximize productivity in life. You’re the best — see you next time on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast.