Life belt ring on hook

The international call sign for distress, “Mayday” originated between English and French pilots and air traffic control. SOS over the radio was often tricky to pronounce clearly. Instead, it was agreed to switch the phonetic pronunciation of “M’aidez”, French for “Help me.” It worked for both nationalities and worked well over the radio.

I’m curious – how often do you speak up and say “Mayday! I need help.”?

As leaders, we’re often expected to have all the answers, all the insights and all the connections to make things happen. Lead from the front, get your hands dirty and set the example. Whatever you do, don’t show any signs of weakness.

OK, so how do I do that and not hit overwhelm?

Many of the women I work with talk about lacking positive female role models, women who lead in male dominated culture or firms without becoming one of the guys or sacrificing their life choices to have their career. They also talk about how senior women have access to financial solutions, simply not available to them.

I mentioned the One of many® Powertypes as empowering archetypes last week on the blog and also in the live session over in the Haven, my safe place out of the storm for women leaders. The one who asks for help with elegance and serenity without a loss of reputation is Queen.

The Queen Powertype is comfortable with leadership, assured in her role and remit – and her boundaries. She inspires loyalty and respect in her teams and seeks to serve her realm – whether that’s within her work, her community or for a cause. Her talents include decision making and guidance, based on her clear vision for what she desires for her realm.

You won’t find her shouting “Mayday!” though.

You see Queen doesn’t do overwhelm. She knows her limits, provides order and structure, prioritises with ease – all without “doing guilt”. She readily asks for help and for counsel. She utilises the skills, knowledge and wisdom of her team and her advisers, like her boss or mentor. Recognising their contributions and greatness in the realm and without losing face.

So, here’s an idea, what if you could step into your Queen Powertype and see the things you’re juggling differently?

Take a fresh piece of paper and dump down EVERYTHING you had to do – from walk the dog, make packed lunches or edit the final of a client report. Large, small, simple, complex – everything. When you stop, ask yourself “what else?” and push through at least 2 stops.

Now imagine someone who wants the very best for you. Someone who will listen to your insights and knowledge on each item. Someone who knows what your desired outcomes are. Someone who believes you can succeed without diving into overwhelm or crossing your boundaries.

Looking through their eyes, ditch any items that:
• You can’t do anything about (whether that is ever or just right now)
• Can wait a few days
• Will just never get done (as they don’t contribute to your desired outcomes)
• Things that will take care of themselves

Looking at the remaining tasks, still looking through their eyes, ask yourself:
• Who can do this task as nearly as well as me? Hand it over.
• Who would help, if only I asked? Hand it over.
• Who can provide good counsel to help me move this task forward more easily or detach my emotions from it? Call them and discuss.

Now, you have a shorter list that you can prioritise and take action on. But only once, you replenish your energies and put yourself in the right mental state for action – whether that’s with a cup of scented tea, a spot of breathwork or take a short walk or run.

Give this method a try and let me know how stepping into this serene certainty and swift decisive mindset of Queen. 

I’ll be sharing my experiences over in the Haven and you’d be welcome to join me there.

PS if you want to create your personalised Storm Navigator tool to use when you’re buffeted about by the winds and gales that life and work kick up. Downloaded my “Stepping out of the storm” workbook at the bottom of this page.