About six weeks ago I wrote about my chance meeting with an old friend. We talked about how she wasn’t happy at work anymore and really preferred to get herself onto a different career path but had no idea how to get started. I offered to help her figure it out but, just as I predicted (sadly), I never heard from her.
There are all kinds of reasons why people don’t reach out for help. Sometimes it simply seems easier to stay in the unhappy place than to get out. Instigating life changes is hard work.
I would guess it’s almost always worth it, though.
I was recently inspired by the Moxie Conference (“Nerve and know-how for emerging leaders”), which was produced and hosted by the YWCA in Madison, Wisconsin. I attended with my LTYM friends Ann, Taya, Alexandra, and Jenny, and we had a great day of learning there.
One of the best parts of the day was the lunchtime presentation of the Women of Distinction Leadership Awards, “to women who represent outstanding achievement in their field of endeavor. Women of Distinction’s achievements are supportive of the YWCA’s work to close the leadership gap and support equity for all.”
I didn’t know anything about these women before I sat down at the table, but quickly scanned their biographies and settled in for their acceptance speeches.
First, I was blown away by the sheer power that took the stage in the form of the six recipients. What they have accomplished, wow!!
Second, each and every one of them had my complete attention and I shed more than a few tears, hearing their background stories and what they’re doing to help others.
Third, and most importantly for the purpose of this post, there was a theme:
ALL SIX of those women talked about how they didn’t get to where they were without the help of other women.
THAT is what gave me the warm fuzzies as I listened to those amazing women speak, surrounded by a couple of my own mentors who have given me so much in my life. THAT is perhaps the biggest thing I brought home from the conference, something I already knew but got it engraved in my head and on my heart over a one-hour lunch break. Women can cover so much ground and advance so much further merely by helping each other.
You already know that’s what I’m all about. I wrote about how I love helping people (who want to be helped!) at the end of that post six weeks ago. I ended that post asking you to invest in yourself.
Now I’m also asking you to invest in others which, as it turns out, is an investment in yourself! (Funny how that works!) Think about it. Do you have information you can share with someone that will help her reach a goal? Do you have time to meet someone for coffee (or tea) and let her talk through their plans with someone who is willing to listen? Are you able to make a connection (in person or email) that will assist someone with her next steps? Sometimes the tiniest gesture can mean the world to someone, and that hug or excited phone call you’ll receive down the road will make you swoon even more than average because you’re the one who reached out first. Do it. I challenge you.
And then tell me all about it. I love happy endings!