I know I could be better at my job, but I am hesitant to ask for what I need to be successful at work because I don’t want my boss to think any less of me. How can I speak up for myself better?
I love this question! It shows me that you have the desire to improve at work (great!) and that you’re mindful about how you might solicit the help of others in order to make strides. You’ve got a great foundation in metacognition and perspective-taking so let’s put both of those skills to use.
The first skill -- metacognition - is a fancy way of saying you can think about how you think. Use that approach to identify something specific about how you approach your job that you think isn’t up to snuff. What could you do better with?
Once you have an area (and truly, you should just start with one for now) it’s time to kick that perspective-taking into high gear. Imagine you are your boss, and you had an employee who wanted to get better. How would you respond to that? I hope you’re thinking, “Umm, if I were the boss and I had people wanting to be even better at their jobs without me having to tell them to be, I think I’d jump for joy.” It’s likely true; what bosses wouldn’t want to learn their employees are trying to be more successful? With that perspective, you can feel confident about reaching out for support. This might work better in conversation than in an email so that you can explain the area you’re trying to improve upon, explain what you’re already doing to work towards it, and then ask for advice. If you frame the conversation in a way that lets your boss know you respect them and value their input, that will make them all the more likely to want to help -- a win-win!