When do you need help?

This week the 2016 AFL season commences. Besides Essendon (due to the player suspensions following the supplements saga), all clubs are confidently predicting they have improved from last season, with some expected to seriously challenge Hawthorn’s reign for a record tying fourth premiership in a row.

Regardless as to who the ultimate winner of the Grand Final is, it’s always fascinating to watch during the season when teams either overachieve or underachieve as compared to their expectations. And it’s the underachievement that tends to grab more headlines.

There’s a significant list of variables which contribute to success or lack thereof, but if history repeats itself then we can confidently predict that by the end of the season there will be multiple AFL coaches sacked. And most cases it will be determined that the coach wasn’t the right person for the job. In a 2015 interview Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley noted how he felt that “nine out of ten coaches finish their careers sacked”.

The similarity to work is we sometimes are put in the wrong role or we bite off more than we can chew or we stay past our use by date.  I should share how I’m not opposed to the approach of “biting off more than we can chew” as a can do attitude, tenacity and perseverance are great values to have as long as we learn ways to cope really fast.

With situations like this there’s a very fine balance between stretching ourselves versus getting in over our head or passing our use by date. And sometimes we’re the last to notice when this occurs with our family often the first to recognise something isn’t right.

When we’re in over our head at work, feelings to be on the lookout for include:

  • Mood swings – easily experiencing emtns of unhappiness or agitation at work or at home
  • Lost enjoyment – there just isn’t a sense of fun or satisfaction anymore
  • Fatigued as opposed to tired – tiredness can be addressed with sleep while sleep doesn’t necessarily help fatigue

What can we do about it? Doing nothing generally only exasperates the problem, so consider:

  • Asking for help – there’s no shame in asking for help. The challenge is in determining when to ask for help, not too early without attempting to address the situation or not too late when it’s out of control and it’s too big to resolve
  • Celebrating small wins – this can help provide a sense of purpose and achievement while increasing confidence to push on
  • Negotiating parameters – if we’re already overloaded then it doesn’t make much sense to keep taking on more
  • Working less hours – even if just for a short term to regain energy. Think quality over quantity
  • Taking a holiday – this can often help to refresh and get clarity but isn’t always the solution if the challenges are complex and fundamentally at the core

If none of the above improves your situation, then like an AFL coach experiencing a turbulent season, it might be time to ask for help to try and get back on track or to reassess your priorities and what’s important to you.