I just had an incredible breakthrough with my coach, Mike Savage, and I am compelled to share it with you. Let me start with the fact that 2016 has been the most difficult year of my 22-year marketing career. As the CEO of Trepoint, I spend every waking hour looking for ways to grow my company. I feel compelled by the employees and clients I serve to build a long-term sustainable business that consistently delivers results.
To that end, I put on a brave face. When people ask me how I'm doing, I'm torn between telling the truth - that I'm struggling and need help - and telling them what every fiber in my entrepreneurial body is dying to say; that life is incredible and everything is going fantastic. I've spent my career believing that no one wants to hear about my problems and that I'm solely responsible for my own success. But success is never really about you, is it? Think about all the people around you and how well you serve them each day. Is that not what drives your ultimate outcomes? Sometimes, we need to open up, be vulnerable and ask for help. That was my "aha" moment from my latest coaching session.
No One Is Expecting You To Be All Right All The Time
How many times have I referred to Brene Brown's Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability? I've written at least 3 articles (Crazy Busy: The Ultimate Numbing Strategy, The Scarcity Fallacy, and Shame: The Secret Killer of Innovation, Creativity & Change). And yet, there's a huge difference between intellectually knowing something and the physical embodiment of living a philosophy. And so, instead of admitting my struggles, I've hunkered down and worked even harder to find a solution. Publicly, I've been upholding the preferred image of success and "got-it-togetherness" rather than admitting my pain, struggles and frustrations.
It's Okay (And Refreshing) To Be Vulnerable
When you've been humbled by forces greater than yourself, your best course of action is to acknowledge reality. Instead of pretending that everything is great, it's refreshing to those around you to admit where you're struggling and seek advice. Not only does it make you more approachable, but you also give those around you an opportunity to feel empowered, important and valued. It turns out that asking for help can be a gift - especially if you're used to playing the role of giver most of the time.
Asking for Help
As a proud entrepreneur on a journey, my default perspective is to look deep within myself to find solutions to any given problem. This has served me well as I can usually get really clear about what the problems are and the best approach to solving those problems. But sometimes you discover that the problem is bigger than you - and that's when you need to ask for help.
What really surprised me about this insight is that it went against my core identity. I see myself as strong, independent and ready to take on the world. And yet, when you've given it 110% and you still are not achieving the result you expect, it's time to get over yourself and ask for some help. If the situation were reversed, you wouldn't hesitate to help someone else in need, so why the hang-up on asking that same person to do for you what you'd gladly do for them? I'm sure there will be more to the story here, but I wanted to share this insight as it's helped me think differently about asking for what I really need from the people who matter most to me. I hope this helps you as you figure out your plans for 2017 and beyond.