Making an Ask of Others – 7 Tips for Better Collaboration

When leaders make an ask of another leader, there are many things that they need to consider.  Below is a checklist to keep working relationships healthy!

Give Enough Time

Give them a respectable amount of time to do what you have requested and if you are unable to give them that amount of time, at least acknowledge it. 

Remember, They are Providing Needed Help

Don’t in any way insinuate that you are doing them a favor by allowing them to do something for you. Acknowledge the ask for what it is and appreciate the interconnectedness that makes us better.

Entertaining Questions with Open Arms

Expect them to have questions, and if the turnaround time is short, expect those questions to come quick and maybe not in a sugar-coated way. You are the one making the ask in this short timeframe, and should have provided all the details. Think through the logistics for them, so they need to do very little work.  

Do the Heavy Lifting

Don’t expect them to do huge amounts of prep work, especially if giving little notice. Prep work takes time and they will need to calendar time to get the work done.  

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communicate with them. Check in with them. Ask if you can provide support. You should do this in a way that allows them to feel comfortable and more at ease.

Ask via Phone, Maybe Email, but Never Text

Pick up the phone to make the ask. It may be faster to text or even email, but a phone call is always better. It allows them to ask questions right away while you are fully present.  

Don’t Make Assumptions  

Be kind. Our world has gotten so fast paced. Don’t make assumptions and if you do, always give them the benefit. Highly qualified leaders/professionals don’t have time for unprofessional behavior. Keep your emotions in check, appreciate people, and see your organization thrive.

These are just a few things to consider when working with other leaders and making requests of them, especially with quick turn arounds. These tips will make the situation easier for both of you, the process will be more efficient, and the results will be more productive.  

With Purpose,

Kelly

Remote Work – A Challenge and a Blessing!

Working remotely has become the norm for many these days. Some days, it feels a little crowded in my house. How about yours? I love having my family around, and this has been one of the greatest consequences of COVID for me. Yet, I need space to center myself. Every time I take a stretch break or go for water, a request awaits or the noise in the next room causes me to fear I might be missing out on something.  

The Challenges

Hey mom, can you fill out that lease? Mom, can I pay my tuition? Can you fill out and sign this? Do you want to do a TikTok with me? Hey mom, the dog is being so cute – did you see my Snapchat? Where is the…? 

I love this and want to spend all my time being with them, but it is hard to get work done and to find the space to center myself. I also feel selfish for feeling drained and exhausted when so many others have it much worse. The guilt then comes over me, swallow it and muddle through. 

Pre-COVID, we are told that these requests are short lived and seldom and we should cherish our time with them because our kids won’t be around forever. In full disclosure, my kiddos are 17-24. 

But now, some combination of kids are around all the time. How do we balance it all, while also not feeling guilty? I can tell how many hours I am logging. It isn’t always pretty. I stop my watch every time I am interrupted or take a break. The breaks are double and the interruptions are often. 

Giving Permission

Part of me knows that I need to savor all of this. I never thought I would have all my kids under one roof again, or a combination as some are heading back out of the nest again as restrictions lift. I will forever be thankful for this time with my family. 

At the same time, I am giving myself permission to acknowledge the challenges. What is it costing our country and us personally? I am recognizing that COVID has often been two conflicting things to many of us. For some, joy for this time to slow down, and for others, frustration and sadness for the challenges.  

Caring for Ourselves

We must take time to care for ourselves now. Whether we feel it yet or are still on autopilot, it has been a year with consequences not yet fully known. We are allowed to feel what we feel, without justification. 

What are you doing to fill your bucket? Let’s make a list now of all the things we love to do. What energizes you? 

Lately, I find myself with my laptop on my lap all hours of the day. Going forward, I will commit to shutting down at dinner time. I will put the computer away and enjoy my family and some true ME time. I’ll make a list of all the activities that I love and I’ll do a couple each week. 

  • Hallmark movies
  • Baking with kids
  • Gardening with the hubby
  • Hiking with the fam
  • Snuggling with my old doggie
  • Hot bath and a good book…

What about you? 

While I’ve only been moderately inconvenience by COVID, our household all suffered from the virus in various forms. I also recognize that it has taken an incredible toll on many in the world. 

Which leads me to one final thought… 

Try Reframing 

How do I reframe interruptions into blessings? My kids actually want me to be in their Tik toks. That is crazy, right? My kids actually want to tell me my dog is cute, have a family Snapchat with me, and have me as a friend on their social media accounts! 

I never thought I’d ever get this time with my semi adult kids, all under one roof again. That has been heavenly. 

How do we reframe as leaders? How do we help others reframe? How often do we contribute to the drama and negativity in this world? There is so much. 

What are we putting out there? What are we putting on social media? Check your accounts. Check your conversations. Check your attitudes. Society is so toxic. What can we do to reframe? Care for yourself and others, and when possible –  see the blessing in the  interruptions! 

With Purpose, 

Kelly 

Take a Step Forward

It has been a while since I’ve written.  Why?

I’m often plagued by perfectionism and constant overthinking, needing the perfect order, system and product.  Everything has to make sense in my mind before I can begin.  I sit.  I sit and I think.  I think and I think and I think some more.  And then, someone needs me.  I jump to the ring  of the phone, the beep of the email, the request of a child.  I get busy with other’s needs and I never have to worry if my work is good enough to put into the world.  

Self loathing and judgement come in here.  

At the end of the month, my perfectly planned goals are nothing more than perfectly planned unexecuted goals.  Then I get mad at myself all over again for making everyone else’s goals a reality while mine remain on paper.

Okay, this sounds awfully dramatic and I do work hard so this is only the worse case scenario.  I’ve accomplished many of my goals.  But, I still do very much struggle with the above and I do get stuck more than I’d like to admit.  The truth is, we all do.    

Here is a concept I want us all, including me, to remember.  

What really separates those that move forward in life, with goals, finding joy, or whatever the measuring stick is we are using… is simply those that keep moving will move forward.  Continuing to move forward once you are already in motion is a lot easier than having to start the forward motion over again and again and again.  

Slow and Steady and Consistently.

It makes no difference how fast we move forward, just that we move forward.  Don’t worry how fast others are flying by you.  Often, they just have a burst of energy when you happen to see them go by.  Slow and steady is almost always better in life.  I’ll only add the word consistently to slow and steady.  Let the momentum of consistency help you.  

Here is a new standard, why don’t you try it with me this year?  

No matter how slow or whacky or how much of a struggle it is, let’s keep moving forward.  It may not be pretty, but is it forward progress?  Think about all the first downs in football.  Scrappy works.  Think about Dory in Finding Nemo, just keep swimming folks – even when you forget where you are going.  

No more waiting for perfect.

No more perfect post.  No more perfectly planned social media schedules before I make a post, because well did you notice that I didn’t post anything for months.  There is no such thing as perfect.  As soon as we finish something, there will always be improvements to be made, so post it anyways.  There are edit buttons.  If folks judge us for a misspelling or for using a SnapChat pic that you snagged from someone else, instead of a perfect photo (like me here) – they are stuck and not moving forward.  Those of us moving forward at all costs understand the struggle and we appreciate those doing the same.  Those stuck are the ones judging.  Don’t let them keep you from creating your masterpiece.  

Remember, the plane didn’t fly on the first try.  

Try to fly yours now.  Let folks laugh.  Be too busy making the adjustments to notice the laughing and to care.  Eventually the plane will fly and then enjoy flying your masterpiece.  But remember, nothing is perfect the first time.  We have to put in the time.  Go put in your time.  Sitting and planning and waiting for perfection isn’t putting in the time and it doesn’t make perfection.  

Your masterpiece awaits!

People sit and are judgmental because they are stuck and aren’t creating.  Don’t be stuck.  Go create. By creating you love others with your gifts.  So, go love others and create your masterpiece one unperfect forward step at a time.  

With purpose!

Kelly

Help – I’ve Lost Control, Systems are Failing!

Currently I find myself struggling with my routines, unsure of my schedule and starting to question my purpose.   Morning yoga, decent bedtimes and family meals are beginning to be missed more times than not.  

Things are Busy and Systems are Breaking Down 

Life has gotten busy, all good, but my schedule has been stretched.  We all struggle at times in our lives.  We struggle maintaining our routines, our self-care practices, our relationships, our connection to our purpose.  Eventually, everything just seems to break down and we rush from one thing to the next, waiting for the craziness to slow.  We lose our sense of joy, as we try to keep up with life.  We tell ourselves that if we can just get through the week, the month, the season – we will be okay.  We are tired and on the verge of being burned out… again…

We Handle Busy Seasons Short Term, Long Term – Consequences

What do we do when we realize we are slipping, when life becomes about task completion and not about purpose?   

We can’t fix it all at once.  We have to regain our sense of order one habit at a time.  We reconnect to our purpose, one meaningful choice at a time.  We find joy one moment of gratitude at a time.  

It’s Like a Marathon – You Must Build Endurance

Any marathon runners out there?  Let’s say you ran a marathon.  You stop running.  Do you wake up one day and say, “hey – I think I’ll run a marathon today”?  No, regardless of how many marathons you have completed in your life, you have to train again every time you stop and decide to start again – one mile at a time.  And, so it is with our routines and our systems.  We have to build back the endurance to maintain our habits, to get through the routines, to return to our self-care practices, to nurture our relationships, and to reconnect to our purpose.  We fill our empty tanks with one self care practice at a time.  We nurture our relationships with one commitment at a time.  If we catch ourselves quickly, we can likely move through this process rather quickly.  If it has been a while, it will be slow and steady.

Go Back to Basics

Step 1

Every night, set aside 15 minutes to sit alone with a notebook and a pen.  Set a timer.  Simply answer the question, “the coming day will be successful if…”

It is important to answer this question.  We are trying to get out of the task completion mentality, the rat race, and back to living a life that has purpose and meaning.  You probably haven’t thought about success in a while.  You probably have just been trying to get through your task list.  

Once you answer that question by writing for about 10-12 minutes, spend the last 3-5 minutes going back and reading it.  Schedule it!  Do that one thing the next day.  Sometimes I write, “go to bed at 9:30”, “make dinner and eat with my family” or “play outside”.  This is incredibly powerful in helping me regain a sense of control.  Almost always, these aren’t items on my task list.  

Step 2

Set your timer for 5 minutes.  Write down everything stuck in your head that you need to do, a brain dump.  Declutter your mind.  This is your “oh crap, I have to… list”  You probably already have a task list, if so this is just to capture what is floating around in your head.  Often, the perception of what we have to do is worse than what we really have to do.  

Step 3

Go through this brain dump and highlight two to three things you need to prioritize.  Do those things first the next day, in addition to the item you listed in Step 1, of course!

Step 4   

Change the way you think.  Your task list is rarely, if ever, going to be completed.  That is okay.  Remember, life is more than getting through your list.  Consider your task list as a wish list.  It is okay to not get through it.  You will always add to it and delete from it.  

You Can Do It

Once you feel more in control, get back to Weekly Planning  and make sure you’re living Priorities with Purpose.  

Morning routines and evening routines are also super important. Create or return to them as soon as possible.  

Remember, no one is perfect.  Life isn’t about getting to the perfect destination with your routine and systems.  The influences around us change.  Our situations change.  We adapt.  Enjoy where you are, learn what you can, and keep building those routines that help us live a life with purpose.    

With Purpose,

Kelly