When we look back on what we have achieved, how far we’ve progressed and what we’ve done in our life and business, we know that we have had help along the way. Out of all the people that you have known in your lifetime who has helped you most or influenced you most?
Sometimes we forget those early influences. I remember one point in my life when I was considering doing a degree. I had no support from family or friends where I lived because in those days many of the youngsters were not going to university but are decided on trades and clerical positions. I had this yearning to learn more and be more and thought that a bachelor of arts degree would give me a leg up in life.
One of my holiday friends who lived in Johannesburg came down to study at Stellenbosch University and after I had completed my stint in the navy encouraged me to go for the degree that I was thinking of doing. What this ultimately did for me had nothing really to do with academic achievement but gave me self-confidence to eventually move onto other things. At that time I didn’t even know how to study at an academic level and he guided me.
Much later when I came to a career change in my path which was forced on me by retrenchment at a large food company another helping hand was there to assist. He was the salesperson who had solved encyclopaedias door to door and eventually ended up selling insurance. He had much energy and life in him even at an advanced age had once busked with his guitar and friends in the streets of Hillbrow. From him I learnt another lesson and that again was to believe in oneself. This is why it is so important for people who have children to install in them self-confidence and a healthy self image at a young age. This period when I was faced with a crisis on how to earn money in new ways, I learnt rapidly about idea generation and creation, which was to serve me well in the years ahead. Knowing that whatever happens, you can rely on your inner resources, together with the support of others like the mentor who helped me when I was out of work to create an income for myself. Not only this but also to do the work that you want to do, enjoy and love to do.
At a time when I was a middle manager, I was dissatisfied with where I was and was immensely unhappy. Stuck in a continual grind with no end in sight. Through a personal coach that I would not have ordinarily turned to, I learnt much about leadership and the importance of self leadership. One thing that I will never forget is how he showed me how to take yourself away from the daily grind of routine and go someplace away from your workstation or office and think creatively about what you are doing and come up with innovative strategies.
Who has helped you?
Who do you need to help you in the future?
It’s amazing isn’t it that when we are at our times of greatest need that someone appears out of the blue, takes interest in us and guides us? Sometimes we don’t even at first recognise that the person is playing this role.
The flipside to the question of who has helped you is who are you helping?
If you take a look around in your life right now, who do you think you could assist?
Coaching is not necessarily a skill just for professional coaches but is also something that is important to learn so that you can help others in your sphere of influence.
Make a list now of people you think need your assistance and meet with them whether they are friends, family or colleagues. It’s not always something that you can do in a direct way but just merely taking interest in what other people are doing and their struggles will be a good starting point.