Just for info…I’m writing this chapter from the back of my VW campervan heating on, the hmm of cars on the road for company as people head home for the weekend (the best office on wheels). The image here is one of my Helm buddies ‘Doing Good‘ for me (stuck in the mud)! – Edited seems the photos on the blogs aren’t displaying properly on my website, will fix this soon.
So what does this actually mean….
Be Good – ask yourself, are you the best at what you do?
If you answer yes to the question above, then why are you reading this book. You are superhuman and should crack on. Read no further.
However if like most of us in the world… even if we are good (or even great), we are unlikely to answer yes, because we know there is always room for improvement. To be good is to have a continued commitment to being better, better than yesterday, better than our best.
Being good is about striving for and discovering our ‘personal excellence’. Two things need to be considered here…
- This is a never ending journey, there is no final destination… that said
- You do not need to reach anywhere beyond your own desires, don’t travel any further than is going to be of value to you…and take your time..
So what did I do…. I read a lot, and for the good books I even did my best to speak directly with the authors (with a 50/50 success rate which I think is a win). Its always best to get to the source and ask the important questions.
In building my skills and developing my craft I went to every free and low cost event within a 50 mile radius of my home town (sometimes further). Even if the subject matter was not directly relevant. I logged into ‘eventbrite’ and searched with all the key words I could think of that may connect with the work I wanted to do. I attended every event with one thing on my mind ‘what can this teach me’. I looked at everything from, room lay out, the welcome, the material, the marketing, the people attending and yes the speakers. I do the same now… but more in a virtual sense (never stop learning, you risk arrogance)
I listened intently, I questioned and I translated – what might this mean for me. I would even blogged about these experiences as I knew this would improve my writing style, my confidence to share and my confidence with new platforms (they are still all on medium somewhere). I’d link those I met to the story and celebrate the learning that I had gained making sure to attribute it (people value knowing their impact on others). As an aside these blogs became tools for others.
Don’t be passive in any of these experiences, present your best self and be humble especially if you do as questions. Ask questions that are well timed, relevant and will benefit the room. Don’t ask simple questions you already know the answer to (its patronising) and certainly don’t ask questions that make you sound cleverer than the speaker or others in the room – that’s just being a DICK (see a future chapter for more on this).
This is better than networking and will get you noticed – I went from being the guy with white glasses that no one knew to ‘oh that’s Kurt’, then to ‘oh I recon Kurt would be good at that’!
Do Good – how much are you helping those around you?
Starting out in any profession as a sole trader (small business) is not the easiest for any of us, so yes whilst you reach-out for help with mixed success, know there are those a little ahead of you doing the same thing and some just behind you looking for the same support!
So don’t get frustrated by what isn’t happening for you. I would spend hours on LinkedIn (and other platforms) searching for people with learning and development in their title who lived nearby, attempting to contact them. This cold call approach was both demoralising and had limited return. So, I stopped and I focused on looking how I may be of value to others.
I started looking for good conversations, in particular those where people were asking for help or guidance. And where I could, I would subtly join and offer something. Now I’d say the best approach here is not to offer yourself as the guide or service (or solution finder), but to offer a trusted other. This works two fold:
- It shows humility to those in need of help – In that you are not turning up as peoples saviour (that’s not in your gift) and
- It demonstrates kindness to those who can help – In that you are not looking to land grab but share the opportunity
In this approach you will often get a thanks from both parties. If you are consistent with this, in time you will become the one being recommended either to provide a service or to help others find someone. This is the beginning of building a wider trusted community.
Where you can, reach-back. Answer the call, spend time with people you can help. And reach-in. Notice those who may need help but are yet to have the confidence to ask.
A note of caution, if you cannot add value don’t add noise…
Good will happen – how much do you trust in the process?
As mentioned above, I believe if you are good at what you do and continually choose to get better (attributing this betterment/growth to those who helped you on the way) and you are doing good, helping with humility as and when you can, GOOD WILL HAPPEN.
The stronger your connections with your growing community the greater the likelihood of your community supporting you. This for me is very much aligned to the concept of social capital, a product of Human Capital and Social Trust…
- Human Capital – understanding the value of you to others (your skills, knowledge, and experience) and them to you.. PLUS
- Social Trust – a belief in the honesty, integrity and reliability of others, a “faith in people” leads to
- Social Capital – the collective resource/opportunity within relationships among a group of people (your tribe)
These relationships tend to be circular, like a pass-it on effect. Rather than transactional and directly reciprocal, the community pays attention to who invests and passes on the goodness from one member to another.
Have faith the work will come, and its likely to be ‘the right work’ with ‘the right clients’. The ones you don’t have to convince, the ones that trust you to do a good job!
Here’s some sobering advice, maybe a harsh truth. But in a noisy and busy world of competitors we have to be honest with ourselves. If we don’t get work then our first questions should be…
- Am I good enough – to do the work or do I need to get better. You need to strive for ‘personal excellence’
- Am I doing good – am I reaching out to my community (and beyond), am I helping as much as I can…. Notice those in need and guide where you can
- Do I trust good will happen – have patients, this can be harder than you think. Trust in the process and play the long game. keep leaning into point 1 and 2 above.
If you want to join me and a group of likeminded humans in this writing and publishing journey, just get in touch via the contacts page link or direct via firstname.lastname@example.org. From here we will grow together.
For further information about the book #BEingSuccessfulEnough or other blog chapters click here