When I look back on how I got to where I am today, the first thing that comes to mind is the abundance of support I’ve received from others along the way.
Even today, I still turn to friends and colleagues for advice even if it’s just to bounce around an idea or get their perspective on a situation. As individuals continue to grow in their positions and look to take on bigger business challenges, engaging in certain activities can provide opportunities to benefit from the experiences of others. Here are five places to look for help.
1. Join groups: One thing I’ve learned is that joining various groups that have meaning to you is a great opportunity to meet other people and also open doors. I’m involved in various organizations, including Young Presidents Organization Coastal San Diego chapter, Vistage International and San Diego Downtown Rotary Club 33, and I also serve as a board member for the United Way of San Diego and Voice of San Diego. During a recent Young Presidents meeting, I shared a dilemma I was facing and asked for feedback. The advice I received in return was invaluable, to say the least. It reminded me of how grateful I am for all the support I’ve received over the years, and still continue to get, through the various organizations of which I’m a part. Look to join groups that are meaningful to what you do, and you’ll be surprised by how much you get out of it in return.
2. Explore content: Between online articles and books, there is an abundance of resources that can provide learning opportunities and answer questions. For instance, it’s not uncommon that I turn to national business publications for advice. Websites such as Fast Company Inc. and Entrepreneur have proven to be particularly useful in providing guidance on issues that I’m facing. Not only is there a lot of information on the Internet, but the price is also right — free!
3. Attend events: Another great way to get help is to attend events and get a better understanding of certain topics that relate to your line of work. For example, if someone is interested in learning more about mobile technology and how it works, some good places to look on a local level might be with the American Marketing Association or Ad Club.
4. Talk to gurus: A strategy that I’ve found extremely helpful over the years is to find trusted advisers who have walked the walk and talked the talk in my line of work. Take the time to find people in your focus area and pick their brain. I promise that you’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to share advice. One important thing to remember is that when someone gives their time to help you, follow up and convey what was learned from the conversation, as well as the actions that were taken. This truly lets them know that you appreciated their time.
5. Be helpful: Another important lesson that I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not all about getting help, but rather, being helpful. I encourage people to get involved with groups and use their skills and talents to help support those organizations. For example, I serve on the board of directors for various organizations, and I’m amazed by what I’ve gained in return. I’ve learned how to run meetings and how to get diverse opinions heard. When you are helpful, you’ll likely get more out of it. Not only are these valuable experiences, but you’ll also expand your network and learn more about other areas of business.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an entrepreneur who hasn’t received some sort of help during their journey. One thing is certain: We all don’t know everything, and our chances for success can only increase by turning to informational resources and other individuals to help us along our way. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.