5 Ways to Help Yourself, and Others Succeed
It’s very easy to get caught up in our own lives, careers, problems, and personal circumstances. In so many situations, we lose sight of the people we love and care about who orbit around us. Sometimes we feel that opportunities are just beyond our grasp and we can end up feeling like we are finding ourselves alone in the dark. In these moments, it’s important to remember that the most impactful act that you can do is opening yourself up, taking a long glance at the world around you, and seeing who you can help.
You don’t need to be an industry leader, or have tons of accolades and great personal contacts - you just have to be willing to do unto others the good deeds which have been done to you. To find out how you can take your skills and expertise to guide other people, and yourself, to success, keep reading.
1. Work Every Job that You can
For people who are only starting out in their particular industry and don’t have a lot of power, the best thing they can do for the business they care about is by taking on as much work as possible, across as many different roles as they can. This quality of company dedication is appreciated and a rarity in society filled with tiny, startup companies staffed by passion-chasing youth who are either being poached by other startups or simply trying to figure out what they want to do.
Realize that many entrepreneurs don't have the ability to quit their day job, so it takes a balance of employee and entrepreneur. But by demonstrating a hard work ethic, sense of responsibility and a diverse range of interests, even the most entry-level employee can help their company save time and energy hiring other people (possibly under pressure-filled circumstances), and, importantly, learn new skills, that can kickstart a career.
2. Reach out to Newbies
For those who have established themselves in some way, it’s easier and less time-consuming to pay your dues to your industry. Experience is valuable and knowledge can be shared and treasured. Even someone a few years into their career can help out “newbies” by reaching out to the people they truly believe in, and taking some meetings and answering some questions.
You can easily help out a young person by contacting universities and offering career counselling (those who are less than five years into the industry have a unique and fresh perspective about technological shifts and what it takes to find a job these days). While this may benefit the ones you help right now, you can be sure that your reaching out to help the newbie is of immediate benefit to you.
3. Be Honest
It’s not always easy to be honest. Like when a friend or a co-worker is eager to tell you their newest idea, and though the question they end their pitch with is, “So what do you think?,” what they really mean is, “Tell me it’s as great as I think it is.” And sometimes, the idea is logistically difficult to pull off, or a weaker version of something that already exists in the marketplace, or simply inane. Of course, this is a hard pill to give someone to swallow, so most people smile, nod, agree, and change the subject.
However, in the end, it’s much more helpful for you to be honest - not hurtful, but honest about their potential, how to improve the idea, and roads that they should explore before going forward with the plan. In the end, you’ll be considered a value advisor for simply telling the truth, and this person will either stop wasting their time and money, or find a better solution. Do remember that your opinion may not be golden. You can give an honest answer and yet say that the opinion you are giving is just yours, and that maybe they should research a little further.
4. Put Yourself on the Line in Favour of Better Treatment for Everyone else
Sometimes, helping people means potentially taking a hit for the team. Nobody wants to be the one to stand up to a bad boss, or an industry that is being readily taken advantage of, and the person who does could face the negative consequences. However, if the situation is dire, undeniably unfair at the expense of the rest of the company, and you’re in a good position to stand up, then you should consider doing so. This type of situation doesn’t necessarily apply in an inter-office situation.
Thousands of freelancers in artistic industries are constantly tapped for work by various clients offering low rates, “free swag,” and “exposure.” Because there are so many independent freelancers in vulnerable situations with very little experience, there’s certainly enough people who are willing to take lower rates or work for free - but this is at the detriment of the industry as a whole. If more freelancers are willing to take a stand for fair compensation for their work, the more they can raise the general going rate for, not just their own, but everyone else’s work in order to make an actual, livable wage.
5. Be a Connector
Think about the earlier years in your career. How did you get into your career path? Was it through the generous help of a more experienced role model, or industry leader? A mentor? Perhaps they deigned to sit down for a coffee with you, fielded some questions, saw something in you and remembered an acquaintance who was hiring, or knew someone who was looking for your expertise to collaborate on a new project.
Every industry is run, in some part, by connections, and this has always been true - so the most valuable help you can offer someone is to be their connector. And if their relationship works well (and of course it will, because you shouldn’t recommend people who you don’t see some potential in), perhaps you’ll soon have a connector when you need one. After all, more connections open up more opportunities to excel.