There are times when someone reaches out in need of a hand, and you think to yourself…sigh, I’m tired. I really don’t feel like reviewing that resume, making that introduction, or going out for that coffee to discuss their needs.
If you are truly THAT busy, and don’t have the energy to give your undivided attention, say so. No point in wasting both your time. Just be honest with yourself and the person who is asking for a hand.
However, if you can spare the 15 minutes your friend, mentee or potential friend will appreciate it. And who knows, you may feel excited about having helped too. In the season of giving back, paying it forward means just as much. You can feel the gratitude they feel for receiving the help and you truly never know when you end up circling back and being the one who needs help.
Over the summer, I was looking for the perfect job opportunity. I went on coffee dates with mentors, people I reached out to via email, dinners and lunches, and had informational phone calls to get to know what opportunities may be around the corner. Most of these people were so busy they may have only had 30 minutes just to themselves for coffee, but they were willing to give me part of that time. It meant a lot that each of these individuals was willing to take the time to listen to what I wanted from my career, and were willing to give advise, make connections for me, and point me in a direction that was helpful for my next endeavor.
In a similar vein, I’ve had old coworkers, friends, and mentees come my way asking for similar advice and help. And instead of just being there when they ask, I’ve tried to look out for opportunities that could be a good fit and pass them along proactively. Paying it forward and demonstrating that even if we only speak a few minutes here and there, their aspirations matter, as mine mattered to those who helped me along the way.
What I learned, was always be kind and pay it forward. You never know when THAT person will be the one ready to help you.
And say Thank you. Even if you were the one doing the helping.