I’m comfortable being a “work in progress” at work.
Sally doesn’t ask for help at work. She prefers to be independent, researching her own solutions, making sure no one else can judge her and no one knows exactly how much she doesn’t know! Sally’s boss feels she is picking things up very slowly and making too many obvious mistakes…
- Blind Spot: Asking for help from others often feels vulnerable, but it is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- Hidden Habit: Not believing enough in yourself or the generosity of others.
When it’s safe…
Sally doesn’t ask for help at work from anyone except one person. She leans heavily on her employee, Lila who is the only one Sally trusts not to judge her when she asks questions. Sally doesn’t know it, but Lila has asked for a transfer to another team, she just can’t handle Sally coming to her all the time for things that she should already know.
- Blind Spot: Over-reliance on one source of support feels safe, but isn’t strategic, empathetic, or self-aware.
- Hidden Habit: Getting used to relying on others for something you can/should do for yourself.
For some things...
Sally realizes that there is much to learn at this senior job and it could take up to two years to become an expert in it. She uses her one-on-ones with her boss to check in and see how she is progressing, and asks for help with only those things that can be very challenging (she doesn’t want to appear too needy, or stupid). Sally’s boss is happy with her progress and feels that while there is always room for improvement (like learning more about the tools they use every day), she is doing OK.
- Blind Spot: Not being objective about what is needed to succeed because you may feel something you don’t want to (like imposter syndrome or vulnerability).
- Hidden Habit: Focusing only on what’s right in front of you, without having a bigger vision or plan to reference, which means you have no way of knowing how you are progressing in the bigger picture.
Sally realizes that there is a lot to learn at this senior job and it could take two years or more to become an expert in it. She uses her one-on-ones with her boss to check against the plan she created to focus on the right things at the right time. Sally’s boss is very happy with her progress and is pleased to see her focus first on mastering the tools they use every day; she is doing well.
- Blind Spot: While it’s good to get the basics down pat, over time a singular focus on your work, without building key relationships, will hold you back in your career.
- Hidden Habit: Spending time on the things that obviously make others (like your boss) happy without diversifying your focus for your long-term career success may mean you paint yourself into a productivity corner; making time for the things you need at work for both today and tomorrow is key to remaining relevant over the long-run.
Sally realizes that there is a lot to learn at this senior job and it could take two years or more to become an expert in it. She uses her one-on-ones with her boss to check against the plan she co-created with her to focus on the right things at the right time. She also has been proactively setting up meetings with others to get to know what they do at the organization, starting with her own team and expanding to others. Sally’s boss is very impressed with her progress and is pleased to see her mastering key skills. Sally has also been recognized by others as being very helpful; she is exceeding expectations.
- Blind Spot: Things are going well, just remember to keep checking into your bigger life plan to ensure you ask for the ongoing career enrichment you need to work towards (or maintain) your dream career.
- Hidden Habit: Enjoy today and celebrate! When things are going well, don’t over-focus on what's “still left to accomplish” as that dis-connects you from joy at work. Take intentional time to celebrate how far you've come and share this celebration with your friends and loved ones.