We’ve looked inside of our processes, and — just like we identified our values — have identified our top three challenges. The first? Asking for help.
We all know someone who has trouble asking for help (and if you don’t, you’re likely that person!). We asked ourselves to identify what holds us back from asking for help, and the answers were interesting.
So often, asking for help is associated with failure — admitting to a lack of knowledge or confusion around a certain topic. To ask for help means to fail the expectations we’ve set for ourselves, or the ones we perceive others having set for us. We feel shame and judgment when we don’t “know it all.” Internally and externally-motivated fear and anxiety hold us back from asking for help, and that’s fair! It’s not easy to change our gut reactions. While asking for help is a challenge, we’re trying to get better at it. Here are some of our tips.
The first step of asking for help is accepting the fact that we need it. Being overwhelmed with due dates and work loads, feeling out-of-your-element in terms of subject matter, or simply not feeling confident with a project are all valid reasons to phone a friend. The second step is understanding what type of help we need. We’ve identified two types: There’s the kind that requires doing, and the kind that requires thinking. If something needs to be done quickly, you need someone’s immediate time and attention. If there’s something you’re working to understand better — like a process or a skill set — we consider that a thinking task, which can be accomplished over time.
We need to be honest with ourselves, and do some internal reflection. When we ask for help, why do we relegate ourselves to feeling shame? Why do we feel our efforts aren’t “good enough”? These answers may differ from person to person, which is why we all need to do our own reflecting. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable means understanding why we don’t already feel comfortable embracing vulnerability — despite vulnerability being one of our most powerful tools. We need to unlearn unhelpful habits and practice more confident, effective ones.
Once you’ve established what kind of help you need, you can figure out what kind of real-world application would be most effective. If you have too much on your plate, don’t feel bad delegating it to teammates — there will be a time when you can support them, just as they’re supporting you. Use Slack to get on people’s radars. If you have a non-urgent question, consider posting it in a group channel on Slack. You could also send an email, book a call, or create a Confluence page. So long as you’re getting the right help from the right people, the vehicle isn’t important.
When organizing a help session, clarify which type of help you need. For example, you could name the session, “Help Type: Thinking,” if you need training on certain processes and procedures. This will help both you and your teammates categorize your help sessions.
Another organizational tool we’ve been loving? ManicTime. This app helps both individuals and teams organize time, tools, and workflow, and makes it easy to keep track of deliverables.
No matter how or why you’re asking for help, it’s important to be patient with yourself. Learning something new takes time and effort, and isn’t always seamless. Embrace the process, and you’ll get more out of it. And, when in doubt, ask your peers and managers for help.
Asking for help isn’t always easy, but you can start with us. Think we can help you? Don’t hesitate to reach out. Connect with us here.