April 17, 2024

I Don’t Want to Ask for Help

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
Get the proven strategies your boss or HR don't want you to know that are proven to work (even with budget cuts, restructuring, and if you've been told "no")
Download now

Asking for help can feel like defeat, like you’re showing the world you don’t actually know what you’re doing or you just can’t do it all.

And what does that mean about you?

In today’s episode, I’m sharing a new perspective on how to overcome the shame surrounding asking for help, including my own journey with balancing work and family.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to stop feeling bad and get out of your own way so you can prioritize better and make work easier
  • A simple exercise to overcome the resistance of asking for help


  • Get a new job, get promoted, or improve your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling – a group coaching program for women in Pharma/Biotech. Learn more
  • Looking for private 1-1 career and leadership coaching? Learn more and schedule a consultation
  • Want insider tips, access to new trainings, behind the podcast details and first-to-know information from Melissa? Join the free VIP Email Insiders


If you are loving the podcast, please consider rating and reviewing my podcast! This helps me support more people — just like you — to get happier in their career and their life by making the show more visible.

Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with stars, and then select “Write a Review.” Let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you aren’t already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast. If you’re not subscribed you can miss out on any bonus episodes! Subscribe now!


Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast for women in Pharma and Biotech with me, Melissa Lawrence. I am a certified career and leadership coach with a master’s in Organizational Psychology who has worked in talent and learning development in biotech to large pharma, from non-clinical to commercial. I help women in pharma and biotech create a career worthy of them. Whether you want to get clear on what you want, get a new job, get promoted, or be effective as a leader at any level, this is the place for you. Every week, you will get practical career strategies and mindset shifts to help you overcome the problems you experience at work so you can reach your goals feeling better than ever. Your up level begins now. 

Hello, hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. As I’m recording this for you, I’m getting ready to head into Washington, DC, for a long weekend, business development and CEO time. Now, if you don’t know, DC is just under an hour away from me without traffic. It’s worth saying. So it’s not too far, but I’m going to be staying in the city for a few nights to just immerse myself in some time, focus on my development of both me as a coach and as a business owner.

I’m going to be in a conference from about 8 AM to 6 PM each I’m going to be staying at a hotel to allow myself to really reflect on what I learned each day, rest, have a fresh brain for the next day, and not worry about any hour, two hour, three hour commute each day. I’m really looking forward to it. I love Washington, DC, and I’m going to be right by the monument so I can take walks each day and just be a tourist in my own city. I never get sick of the buildings or monuments in DC. There’s so much history, so it’s just a really great place to do some good thought work and just reflect on the year so far and what I want to do moving forward and just the areas that I want to grow on, both in my business and in myself. But even though I’m excited and have been looking forward to a few days away from my home office to just do some strategic work and long-term planning, it does make me uncomfortable. If I can let you in on a secret, I used to really struggle with prioritizing myself I never wanted my wife or kids or anyone to have to sacrifice for something that I wanted, whether it was having to do something that was inconvenient for them, having to go without something, even like fake things, like taking money from our family account, even if it wasn’t earmarked for anything else.

I didn’t want to take it just for me. Just little things like that that really are big things that I had to work through and grow in. But I’ve gotten better at that in the last several years. I also love being with my wife. So usually when we travel, even for work trips, we try to go together and the other will work remotely or take time off. But we learned it’s important a couple of years ago. Now, if you remember, and have been listening or connected to me for a while, I went to a work conference in Orlando, and we ended up doubling it as a family vacation. And that is also when we got Brooklyn, my puppy, aka Fun officer. And although we had planned it just right and Ellen took the kids to the parks that they really liked, while I was at my conference, we stayed at the Four Seasons. We added a few days around the conference so we could just do stuff together, it just still wasn’t the same as a dedicated work or dedicated family trip. It is one of Ellen and the kids’ most favorite vacations, though, which is really funny.

And that’s because of the VIP park experiences they did. It was our first and only time that we’ve seen at the Four Seasons so far. Just the whole experience felt very luxurious, and it was a lot of fun, and they did things that they may never do again. But they also think of this vacation as not really a family vacation because I think of me working the whole time. Even though I didn’t work the whole time, when you’re so wrapped up in something, even when you’re not physically there, you can still be thinking, reflecting, soaking in what you learned or what you’re going to learn. And all of that was a distraction. So even the days that I wasn’t working, I was still thinking about work, and they could tell that I was having a hard time being present. And I was trying and I felt like I was more present. But for them, the bulk of the time I was either in the conference or talking about the conference. And so I wasn’t as attentive as I am when we go on our Outer Banks vacations or these other types of vacations, which are just distraction-free and such good quality family time.

So it was great, of course, but at the same time, it isn’t the same as being focused on just one thing or the other, work or family. So we decided not to do that again. We thought it was a good idea because I had to go to Orlando, and if I’m going to go to Orlando, we might as well make a trip of it. But next time, if the family comes, we just won’t count that as our family vacation. And then several months later, I had another conference in Nashville. For this one, just Ellen came with me. We have gone to Nashville several times over the years, and we have enjoyed it. It’s changed quite a bit. We learned this last time. But what we found was very similar. Ellen was working from the hotel. She took a day or two off to do some tours she wanted to do. She made some friends at the hotel bar, and she and I had dinners in our evenings together. I was up very early for the conference. I was busy all day and then again, reflecting and thinking at night, letting everything marinate that I had learned, thinking about decisions I needed to make.

We decided as much as we don’t like being apart, mentally we are. Even if we’re physically together, mentally, my head space is in work. It just isn’t the same as if we went on a trip, just the two of us, and neither of us worked. But to be honest, this was hard for me, I felt bad for being at the conference when my family or Ellen were out doing fun things without me, and I was missing out on that quality time. Then when we were together, I tried to be so focused on them, but then I felt like I was neglecting my homework or what I needed to do for my business. All of this to say that this time, when I’m going to Washington, DC, even though I am just about an hour away, I am going alone. I’m going to allow myself to just focus on work at this conference that I invested in, to learn, to make decisions, and give my career and professional self the attention that it deserves and that it needs. Then when I come home in a few days on Sunday, I’m going to be able to be fully present at home, knowing I did what I needed and wanted to do for work.

Why did I want to share all of this with you? Because I think you might have gone through something similar, or maybe you’re considering a conference or something for your growth and development and you feel torn between your career and your family. Maybe it’s hard for you to ask for help to allow you to do what you want to do. Now, in my Beyond the Ceiling group this week, we did some coaching on asking for help because it had come up with a member in the group. This is a lot like the conference example, but something a lot of us have experienced at one time or another in our daily work lives, too. Just like I was torn and thinking about my family when I was at a conference and then thinking about work when I’m with my family, when you’re not allowing yourself to give each its own attention, what happens is they both suffer. My client was working 12 hours a day and was worried that if she said she couldn’t do it all or if she asked for help, that it meant she wasn’t doing a good enough job. That if she asked a question, it would be viewed as a dumb question, and her colleagues would think she didn’t know what she was doing or she was wasting their time.

Instead, she was overworking, giving up her hobbies and workout class to try to do it all for work at the sacrifice of home and herself, but then feeling like she wasn’t doing the things she needed to do for herself. It’s lose-lose, right? With work, you’re giving so much to it, but it’s not your best self because you’re a little exhausted. At home and with yourself, you’re not meeting your needs there either, so everyone loses. It becomes a conundrum, though, of being torn between work and home. If you’re in a similar situation, I want you to think about a leader that you admire. The leader that you’re thinking of, if you need another minute, I could pause. You need to think of a leader you admire, someone that you’ve seen at the workplace that you thought, wow, they just really seem to have it together. They’re the leader that maybe you want to be like, if you think of them, likely aren’t working all hours of the day and night head down. You’re not thinking, wow, I really love that leader that never seems to leave the office and isn’t spending time with her family, right?

She’s probably asking questions, collaborating, seeming like she has everything together. You might be using that to compare yourself to and make yourself feel bad, like she has a secret that you don’t, that maybe she’s able to do everything and you’re just not. But I promise you that’s just not true. I remember working with a leader who was always scrambling, chaotic, never seemed to be able to turn work off, and would always say that she couldn’t, that the job was just too demanding. It was something she had signed up for. She didn’t have a choice. It was just the job. And that type of leader scares people. I’ve had people come to me and say they don’t want to advance leadership because they think that this is the type of leader they need to be, and it’s just not true. That leader who behaves that way just doesn’t have boundaries and has some beliefs about herself and work that are causing her to operate that way. Whether you’re doing that in the public or in the shadows, checking your email late at night or daydreaming about a conference you want to go to or an investment you want to make in yourself, but you’re just worried it’s going to take away from someone else, from something else that it’s going to make you somehow less competent or less good at your job.

I want you to just consider the more you do on your own, prioritizing everyone else, the less you have for yourself and the less you have for them. Everyone loses. When you allow yourself to ask for help, to prioritize your needs, to focus on one thing at a time, you are more efficient. You get things done faster because you can focus. You’re able to have higher brain power. You’re able to be present with your family or present at work. You do better work. You’re more productive. You make a bigger impact for yourself and everyone around you. Asking for help is a leadership quality. If you think about a leader you admire, you know that that’s true. Knowing what you want and need and making it happen is a leadership quality. Saying no, deferring, delegating, prioritizing, putting in boundaries. These are skills you can learn. It’s not impossible. The leaders that you admire have probably mastered those skills. I’d be willing to bet money on it. Think about who you want to be and make decisions from that place. For me, I decided that I wanted to be the best at what I do. I want to be a thought leader that gets my clients’ results 100% of the time.

I want to be a wife who can relish in her marriage and notice the small things, dance in the kitchen, and not need to have my phone near me. I want to be the mother who notices her kids, sees their crooked smiles, who creates memories with them by being present and crushing them in a Connect4 tournament. Okay, that last one is for my daughter to hear years from now because I taught her so well at Connect4 that she beats me in her smack talk. It is serious. See, I can’t let her go. So competitive. I want the people in my life to look back and know that I was there, really there, and that they were loved and that they mattered. I want to look at my life and know I took care of myself, I treated myself well, and that I made a positive difference for as many people as I can, and that I changed the pharma biotech industry for women for the better. To be that woman, to be that person, I need to ask for help sometimes. That is being a leader. The more we lean on each other, the higher we all rise.

I need to take time for work. I need to take time for rest. I need to take time for my family. And for me, that is all okay. All right, have an amazing week, Cheetahs.

Hey, the episode is over, but I want to let you in on a secret. There are four hidden ways you can use to advance your career as a woman in Pharma or Biotech that your boss or HR doesn’t want you to know about. These are strategies that are proven to work even after you’ve been told no. Save yourself so much time and advance your career on your terms by downloading the strategies at my website, www.yourworthycareer.com/hidden. They’re completely free. Go get them now.

Share this Episode

+ show Comments


Top Posts

Organizational Psychologist
Career & Life Coach
Fierce Advocate
No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

Free Guide!

*Downloading the freebie will subscribe you to our email list, You may unsubscribe at any time, though doing so means we cannot contact you or provide you with more free resources, trainings, and tips.

4 strategies including when to use each one and a deep dive on putting it into action

bonus tips proven to work to get you more interviews and dream job offers

career advancement strategies specifically proven for women in pharma/biotech

Get the 4 hidden strategies you can use right now to advance your career as a woman in Pharma/Biotech. These are industry specific strategies that work even with budget cuts, restructuring, or if your boss already said "no" to your request.

4 Hidden Ways (shhh)
to Advance Your Career

- Margaret

"Wow. I wish someone had told me these strategies were an option earlier in my career."

    Group coaching

    beyond the ceiling

    Private coaching

    1-1 Coaching

    tune in

    Listen to the podcast