Make a Positive First Impression – Ask!

Published on October 13, 2014 at 12:12 am

Hi Folks – I have a young intern/associate working with me. Her name is Christina Echevarria. I asked Christina to write about her real-life experiences in the workplace.  Here’s her inaugural post. Can you relate? Let us know! – Lisa

Christina hard at work!

Starting my new job has been both an exciting and challenging time filled with uncertainty. The initial struggles of finding where exactly I fit in have been unsettling, but I have found that toughing through these struggles develops me.

One of the most difficult obstacles I am facing in my newly budding career is accepting  that sometimes I need help, and that means actually ASKING for help. I find myself sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs because I’m stuck on some random task or  unsure of exactly what is being asked of me. I think I’m bothering my manager when I send an email asking for clarity. However, I’m realizing this is not the best attitude if I plan on actually doing my job well.
From my experience, I can definitely say that my manger and co-workers are happy to take a few minutes to clarify things. The more I view awkward moments of uncertainty as learning opportunities rather than obstacles, the more comfortable I feel stretching out of my comfort zone and taking initiative. Initiative is invaluable both in and out of the workplace, and developing this skill starts with learning to acknowledge that asking for help is not an indication of weakness; rather, an opportunity for growth! It seems as though growth and discomfort inevitably go hand-in-hand…yikes! I’ve sure got a lot of discomfort ahead of me, but I’m becoming excited as these challenges transform into opportunities to get a little bit better every day.

Ask for help blog


This post was written by Lisa Jacobson

Categorized in: ,

7 Comments

  • Pam Menendez says:

    Great insight for those just entering the workforce (and for some who have been around a long time!)

  • Lisa Jacobson says:

    Christina – There is a lesson here for people of all ages. Another way to perceive and experience awkward and uncomfortable moments is to think of them as “growing pains”. When my Boomer, Gen X Gen Y clients tell me they feel awkward, we take a moment to acknowledge that they are growing and not stagnating!

  • Jack says:

    An “asking for help” situation can have multiple dimensions. It could be that you’re seeking clarification. It could be that you’re admitting some sort of knowledge gap. One way to frame a situation is positioning it in your mind as collaboration. “When you gave me this task, this is what I had in mind. Does this line up with your expectations?” You’ve taken a task, thought about it, now you want to make sure it lines up with expectations.

    • Lisa Jacobson says:

      Thank you Jack! Your comment is spot on. It deals with developing an excellent communication habit: demonstrating an understanding of what is being asked of you. A Best Practice is to proactively gain clarity at the time of each and every assignment.

      Simply ask: “So here is what I just heard you say…..” Did I get that right? “Is is a priority item?” “Who’s my go-to person if I run into snags?”

  • Christine Acosta says:

    Lisa and Jack, thank you for your additional and powerful insights! Christina’s post was inspirational to me, a well-timed reminder that we must all have a willingness to push ourselves by “toughing through” moments of awkwardness.

  • Kathy Echevarria says:

    Jack made a good point of having ‘conversations’ with your supervisor to get feedback. It is also valuable when you become the leader! You look back to be sure some one is following.

  • Tom Brassard says:

    You’re off and running Christina… excellent article! I’m 59 years old and there are times when asking for help still eludes me; but it has gotten easier and more appreciated over the years. The thing that gets in the way of asking for and even accepting help, is ego. Being aware of this and checking it at the door is the first big step. With ego out of the way, we open ourselves up to giving and receiving which opens all sorts of opportunities to stretch our comfort zone; including asking for help.
    Well done!

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