Have you ever noticed that we’re given exactly what we need, right when we need it? Sometimes it can even feel annoying. But when I decide to put on my big girl pants and really look at the gifts I’ve been given, and the messages being handed to me, I know that what’s in front of me usually serves me. That happened this week when I ran across an article that someone sent to me a few weeks ago. It’s called, The Unfair Truth About How Creative People Really Succeed. It’s all about networks, groups and the importance of making sure we’re working with the right people, near the right people, and that we ask for introductions, meetings and advice from those who can help us the most.
And well, I found this to be “annoying” because I tend to be a loner. When I first tell people that, they laugh it off and don’t believe me. It is a little funny, if I do say so myself. I love being in front of a room speaking or working with a group over the phone, and heaven knows I love me a good party. But it takes work for me to get there. I love being alone, I relish my time alone (hence the getting up early to work), and sometimes I spend too much time alone. And as a business person, this can really work against my interests and my goals.
And if I’ve learned anything during this fun ride through speaking and writing and growing, it’s this: Successful people have groups of people who support them, nurture them and help them. And those groups are created through sharing, generosity and mutual support.
In the article, I love how the author outlines the successes of famous people and the community of people surrounding them that helped them get to the top. It’s a good thing to remember that a clean house doesn’t matter as much if there’s no one to share it with; great thoughts and good deeds are wonderful, but even better when shared; and our hard work, while worthy of our time, means so much more when it benefits others.
It got me thinking about how lucky we are to have each other. A great support group and network are vital to our personal growth and success in life. We’re always stronger when we’re together. You can work as hard as you can, but if you do it by yourself, without the support of those closest to you, and others who are experts in your field, it’s quite likely that your hard work won’t amount to much. We need to know and learn from people who’ve been where we are (think parents, mentors, friends and colleagues), be introduced to the right people and stay connected to those we love to keep our sanity.
And I love the part of the article where the author talks about “being the kind of person that others would want to invest in” by listening to advice, following the guidance of others and being generous in his requests for meetings. We all know when someone just wants something from us, and we’ve all been on the receiving end of interactions like that. Don’t be that person. Ask for what you need, but do so with generosity, kindness and with humility. Be the person that others want to help, because what you’re doing is great, and because you are a source of support and caring.
Here are some steps you can take this week to start using this “unfair advantage” for yourself. There are people out there who want to help you, who love what you’re doing and who may very well know how they can help you.
This week is as great any other to work on our connections with those in our lives: both professional and personal.
Start today by writing down the names of five people you could reach out to this week. On this list you’re looking for the following people (it might be one person per question, or two):
1) Who could teach me more about xyz? (“xyz” could be your industry, a current project, a task or a hobby)
2) Who do I need support from on a daily basis?
3) Who knows someone I need to be introduced to?
4) Who can I help the most this week? What can I do for them?
5) Who should I invite to lunch/coffee to get to know them better?
Once you have your list of people, reach out to them! Make the invitation, take the time to call them and tell them you care or offer to take them out to coffee so you can ask them a few questions. Always offer something in return, and always be gracious. You’ll find that most people will want to help you! Just think how you would feel if someone asked you for your expertise? You’d probably do it in a heartbeat…
We’re here to help each other. If there’s anything I’ve learned during this crazy adventure on earth, it’s that. We’re here to help, as much as we can. And when we give, it always comes back to us.
Use this week to build up your network, strengthen your friendships and connections and find out how you can help others, too.
Go get ’em.