The Beatles once sagely wrote:
In terms of the professional world, the second line, “not just anybody” is especially pertinent. I have recently been working on a work related project where I have had to ask for help–something that I do not usually do in my own life…mostly out of stubbornness and control, but I find myself so much less stressed because I did recently ask for and receive help.
Look for the signs that you are stressed. It is a strong indicator that you should probably ask for some help. For me, I tend to get even more direct than I usually am, and I come off as, or can be, mean (I usually apologize very quickly, don’t judge, I am working on it). Last week I recognized that I could not possibly complete all of the work for a project in a high caliber way, and on time. It was simply too much (I won’t get into the details of why). Whatever signs you personally show when you are stressed, learn to recognize them and leverage them to ask for what you need so that you can relieve some work related stress, if possible (sometimes you just gotta buckle up and give it your best if resources are thin, after all).
Learn to recognize when the workload is too much. For me, in my situation, it was due to the volume of the work, paired with the timeline in which the work needed to be completed. These are two solid indicators that you may need to ask for help. Especially if you are new, and learning the ropes, ask for help when you do not know or do not understand.
Learn who to ask for help. In my case, I had to communicate the context of my own situation to different members of my leadership team than I usually would. Sometimes, asking a colleague for quick help is enough. Other times, you may need to really talk to your manager to get a formal system of help established in order for the project or work to be delivered on time.
Remember, despite your internal dialogue arguing otherwise, everyone wants your company to win, for the project that you are on to be successful–most folks are willing to help, but are just waiting for that question to be popped, so to speak. There is no shame in admitting you need help. I would argue the shame should come when you have access and resources for help, but choose not to leverage those by asking.
Seriously though, ask for help when you need it and can get it.