So asking for help is not one of my strengths (my Nasty Nelly mean girl voice would tell you I suck at it). I'm the big sister and am a natural leader. I didn't have a lot of practice soliciting input as I was growing up. But in starting my own business, I've learned the value of asking for help- or as I like to reframe it "advocating for my best interests". And I am good at the later, because if I didn't ask for ideas and guidance daily...game over. There are SO many things I've had to learn to pivot from employee to boss lady. And the more support I have in my corner the more successful I will be.
Asking for help is hard for a lot of people. It makes us feel weak. It can make us feel like we are not enough...and we will do anything to avoid that! It might even highlight a perceived vulnerability; we don't like to let our guard down.
But did you know that asking for help is a fast way to gain trust and build your street creed as a leader? True story! I have a friend who has truly perfected the art of the ask. She is as classy as they come. And such a smart cookie. When she turns to her network for advice, it makes her friends feel valuable and valued to be able to share ideas or a new perspective with her. This approach is one of the many reasons she is so successful. People may or may not remember what you say but they always remember how you make them feel. Most people want to help because at the end of the day we just want to feel like we made a difference.
Earlier this month I had the chance to present to the distinguished ladies of P.E.O. (which stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization). They are dedicated to improving educational opportunities for women. The organization even started (and funds) their own college. Girl power! These ladies are (were) leaders in their field. It was truly a pleasure to meet the local chapter and share my story.
So I figured, these ladies live amazing lives and so they must have great advice for us. As I was wrapping up my presentation I surprised the group by asking what advice they would give to a woman trying to make her way or their younger self. What did they want or need to hear earlier in their careers? (The higher a woman climbs, the fewer role models and mentors she has so the moral of the story is we need to get advice where and when we can). I shared with them that I have a sign outside my bedroom door (so that I see it first thing each morning) that reads "Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You" an Eleanor Roosevelt quote. My act of bravery that day was to request that they help me with this blog post, because I needed a little outside inspiration and encouragement. Here's the goodness they wanted me to share with you:
"Go after your dreams and don't be afraid to look at help and resources to make your dream come true." ~Judy
"Plan" (I'm going to start planning to plan.)
"Follow your passion- what do you really love doing (even if it isn't your current career)"
"Follow your passion. Be kind; everyone is trying to make their way in life." ~ Mary
"Find the middle ground."
"You'll always miss 100% of the shots you didn't take" ~ Wayne Gretzky
"Trust you instincts and stay healthy."
"God gave us each talents- use them to serve all." (AMEN!)
Best advice I ever got.... "Never assume anything!"
"Relationships are extremely important"
"Do not be afraid to ask for help from career counselors."
"Be a good communicator (both verbal & written) and be a good listener (to clients, employees, bosses, etc)."
"Never give up.There is always a way." ~ Anne Nelson
"Believe you have the ability to succeed." ~ Susan
What advice would you share? What do you need to hear? I'd love for you to add your words of wisdom in the comments below.