How To Communicate Your Needs During A Tough Time


Great communication skills are important in achieving success and getting what we need.

At work we are able to set goals, share visions and relay new benchmarks to our team. We have power points, standard operating procedures and training. When we face obstacles in life, it seems much harder to communicate exactly what we need.

We have expectations that our friends, family and colleagues should recognize. However, that is not the case. This is a total misconception. If we don’t spell it out, no one will understand what we are struggling with. We become frustrated, tired and have less patience for those around us. Let’s not forget life continues for those around us because their world has not changed. They do not always have the insight into what is happening to us and how tough it may be.

It is particularly hard when a person is in a leadership role to convey they are struggling. They may worry people will question their leadership skills, decision making and be perceived as weak. 

I am a firm believer that none of us get through life without experiencing tough times. Some much more than others.

It all begins with communicating where you need help. Depending on what you are dealing with and how it is personally affecting your mental state, you may need to specify what you need help with. We are not mind readers. Some people on the outside are completely calm, confident and strong. However, on the inside they can be breaking or even completely broken.

When my husband passed away, many people wanted to know how they could help. I actually had simple things I couldn’t even deal with. Such as phone calls, organizing the funeral and even getting my house cleaned, so I could have friends and colleagues over.

My friends showed up and we decided who could help with what. For instance, doing laundry and organizing meals because now I had a house full of family. The last thing on my mind was cooking meals. I couldn’t even eat I was so sick to my stomach. 

Everyone came in like a swat team and helped clean the house, organize rooms and clear counter tops. They even hid the dirty laundry!

The day before the funeral I realized I couldn’t find my underwear! One of my friends actually went to the store and bought me new underwear. It was one less thing I had to worry about. It took a village to carry us through the funeral. 

Think of those facing illness. Asking friends and family to help with chores, groceries, maybe even rides to the doctor and treatment. If you were a high functioning, self sufficient person before your illness, it may not occur to your friends that you need help. It can be the little things that help so much. If there are children involved, keeping their schedules consistent can help them with their new normal. Picking them up from school, helping them with homework, walking the dog, running errands, grocery shopping, dry cleaning pick ups or even helping in the yard. All these things continually need to be done. 

Work on the other hand is very different. Unlike our home, where we can leave a sink full of dishes, unmade beds and piles of unread papers, at work you can’t. We have day to day deadlines and depending on what your position is, you may have a role that forces you to oversee or manage a team.

Sometimes going to work can keep us occupied in a good way. On the other hand, your level of concentration could jeopardize your decision making. A doctor or healthcare worker must be on top of their game. One mistake could mean life or death. 

Take a good look at your responsibilities and see if you are able to have someone help you with that presentation, those sales calls or maybe have someone take over your account if possible. Stop and think about how critical each decision you make might affect the outcome at work.

Speaking to your Human Resource department, team leader or colleague might help you navigate through this hard time. If they understand what you are dealing with they may be able to make concessions to help you. 

#networkPamela SainComment