Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finishers Formula - HELP

I'm afraid to ask for help.  I already feel like an outsider/imposter because I'm a female in a male dominated field (software development).  When I'm just getting started learning something new or tackling a new project, I waste a TON of time researching and poking around on my own instead of just asking basic questions of people who already know about the topic.  I'm a complete introvert to begin with, so initiating contact with other people is a barrier within itself for me.  On top of that I create new barriers for myself by viewing it through the lens of the sole female developer asking the guys for help.  I'm also afraid that if someone helps me out and I don't follow through on whatever it is I'm working on, then I will have let down the person who took the time to help me.  I'm FULLY aware how ridiculous it is, but I still haven't gotten over that barrier on a consistent basis.

I was taking an online graduate level computer science class where my final project was meant to bring together a few new technologies that I had never worked with before. Instead of asking for help with some basics of getting going on the project on the listserv of these technologies, I just procrastinated not knowing where to start.  I procrastinated so much, that I didn't complete my final project, and didn't get credit for the course, even though I had been doing really well in the class up to that point (with a full time job and a small child).  I was very disappointed in myself, having worked so hard (investing precious time and money!) to make progress in the course, just to fail on the very last step.

How do you rebuild trust in yourself?
Basically I'm in a rut where I don't trust myself to finish what I start, therefore I'm wary of getting anyone else involved in my projects, whether as accountability partners, thought partners, or even just sounding boards.  I don't want to tell anyone that I'm working on changing something about myself or that I'm working on a side project because I'm afraid of the (mental) consequences if I, yet again, don't follow through.

So I can't break out of this cycle: 
Past failure to follow up --> afraid to ask for help so as to not let someone down due to lack of follow up --> not asking for help causes project to stall/fail --> creates another data point for "not finishing what you start/not following up" --> causes even more fear to ask for help in the future.