How to ask for help
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 may have passed but caring for your mental health matters all year round.
Part of caring for your mental health is ensuring you are getting the support you need, to deal with challenges and support your growth.
We’re fortunate at Redgate to work in a company that values transparency, continual improvement, and doing our best work in teams to provide that support. But even in one of the easier environments to ask for help, it isn’t always it’s easy.
Here are two important lessons I’ve learnt about asking for help.
Asking for help is a sign of strength
For a long time, I saw self-independence as the goal. Doing everything for myself was the best way for me to grow and relying on others was weakness.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. We each have so much to offer each other and insisting on “going it alone” has slowed me down so many times.
Everyone needs help from time to time. It’s one way we gain new perspectives, build connections, and grow. Even our own Exec Team and Board have their own trusted advisors and supporters. Building these relationships and seeking help will only make each of us stronger.
Asking for help is a skill
Asking for help can be difficult. But, like any skill, it gets easier with practice.
Getting that practice can be daunting, but here are some tips that made it easier for me.
Be as specific as you can
If you’d like to ask someone for help or support, be as clear as possible what you’re asking for. “I’d like some help” is hard to say, but harder to understand. People rarely know what’s in our head as well as we do.
Instead, give an idea what the problem or challenge is and the type of help you’re looking for.
Sometimes you’re simply struggling and need help untangling your own thinking. That’s fine. Just make that clear to the person you reach out to.
Be proud of yourself for asking
Since everyone needs help and support, asking for it should be celebrated. Opening with phrases like “I hate to ask…” or “I’m sorry, but…” can belittle what you’re asking for, and even make supporting you seem less appealing to others.
Instead, let the person know why they are someone you think can help. Perhaps they have skills or experience that are relevant to your situation, or you simply trust them to speak to.
Ask in a thoughtful way
One thing we’ve learnt from Redgate’s flexible-hybrid working model is that different people prefer different ways of communicating. Some find requesting support compelling face-to-face, in person or over Zoom, while others will find an asynchronous email or Slack message more comfortable to receive.
There’s no “one right way” to reach out to someone for help, but if you consider the preferences of whoever you’re reaching out to you can’t go too far wrong.
Follow up after receiving help
Asking for help often leads to receiving help. But what happens then?
It’s important to follow up with the person who helped you. Let them know how their help and support benefitted you, and that you appreciated it.
Showing gratitude is an important practice, and it’s rewarding for the help-giver to know they made an impact.
Who do you ask for help at Redgate?
Redgate ensures our people have ample help and support on offer.
We work hard to give excellent support from line managers, build supportive teams to bolster our colleagues, and offer professional coaching support from our internal Coaches team.
Sometimes people need something more, which is where Redgate’s other wellbeing-related resources come into play. From a bevy of wellbeing content (including access to a proactive wellbeing app and some excellent internal videos), to mental health first aiders and an employee assistance programme for most of our employment locations, we aim to make sure all our teammates have access to the support they need.