Look Stupid, Ask for Help

Look Stupid, Ask for Help

Adulting life hack:

Ask for help from professionals and don’t be afraid to look stupid.

Before I had a smart phone, I used to sit at the very front of the bus, nervously trying to scan the street names as we passed them, so I’d be able to get off the bus at the right stop for an appointment.

I frequently missed my stop. The thing that fixed that? Getting on the bus and telling the driver, “I’ve never been on this route before, can you please let me know when we reach (say) Academy and Grant?” And the bus driver would say “sure thing,” and would stop for me at that intersection, and would call out “hey, Academy and Grant!” and I’d know to get off.

I didn’t understand how to find a therapist that my insurance covered. So I called my insurance company customer service line, and said, “I’m really freaked out by your website, it’s not intuitive – can you please walk me through the exact steps I need to take to find a therapist in my area, where I know the copay will only cost $40?” And the person on the other side of the phone would walk me through the whole process, and I’d get the information that I needed.

I’m trying to buy a house, and I called the title company to get some paperwork figured out. The person who picked up the phone rattled off some information that didn’t make sense, referencing acronyms and forms that I’d never encountered. I freaked out for a second in my head, and then I said, “Hey, this is my first time buying a home, and I didn’t understand *anything* you just said. Can you please explain that to me again, but like, the ‘For Dummies’ version?” And she did, and I came away from the conversation with a much better understanding of what I was going to be signing.

It took some serious work on myself to be willing to look stupid or to admit ignorance, but it’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself. It’s extremely unlikely that anyone is going to think poorly of you because you don’t understand the thing that they had to study and train to understand, or even get a license/certification/degree for. They’re a professional for a reason. And even if they *do* think you’re a dummy – who cares? They’re not your friend, their opinion is useless. Even if they go into the break room after their call with you and roll their eyes about how dumb you were, you’re still the winner in this scenario! You got the help you needed and you feel better as a result, and they’re being a grumpy jerk in the break room.

Not being afraid to look stupid while talking to a professional has changed my life. Try changing yours, too!

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