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Yesterday I had the honor and privilege of speaking as a panelist at Digital Hollywood on a panel hosted by the Alliance for Women in Media. It was a part of a track of women’s programming hosted by the Alliance along with Women In Film, Women Network, and Girls In Tech Los Angeles. Throughout the day there were panels and screenings and networking events presented by women for women, and it was glorious.
There is nothing quite like hanging out in a room with several hundred powerful women who are following their path and living in their power. There was a lot of discussion of lifting one another up. We talked about the new economy approach of focusing less on competition and a whole lot more on collaboration. We talked about our dreams and inspired one another.
The evening ended with a powerful (and wildly entertaining speech) by Michelle Patterson, President of the California Women’s Conference & Women Network. The speech touched me in a number of ways, but one thing stood out in particular. Michelle reminds us, that if we are to succeed, we must learn to ask for help and also learn to receive that help. I think for many of us, this is a particularly difficult lesson. We aren’t comfortable asking. We think we shouldn’t need help or that we don’t deserve help. Or we just can’t imagine how someone might help us. But all of us need help from time to time. And this was a really important reminder for me–that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. If you are convinced you can accomplish all your dreams without help, you are either naive or simply not dreaming big enough. Because big dreams require big, beautiful, powerful teams to accomplish them.
But throughout this day, I learned another equally important lesson. Don’t assume you don’t have the ability to help. I went to many panels. And like many people around me, I rushed up to the podium afterwards to speak with the panelists with whom I resonated. I connected with panelists that I thought might be able to help me. And I asked for help. I also wanted to offer help. But initially, I was hampered by the belief that I wouldn’t be able to help. Some of these women were CEO’s of very large companies. Some of them were successful screen writers or famous actresses or technology mavens. I wondered what I could possibly offer. But then I decided to take a different tack. I chose not to believe there was nothing for me to give and I simply asked. What is the one problem you are trying to solve right now? What do you need? Can I connect you with somebody? How can I help? And it was magic. Many of the panelists were taken aback when I asked. They stopped, and thanked me for asking. And then they told me what they needed. And you know what was amazing. In many cases I WAS able to help. I couldn’t necessarily do the things myself, but I knew somebody who could. I gave out names and offered to make introductions. And I felt powerful. It was good.
So that was my lesson from yesterday. Never assume you are not worthy of help. Believe in your self and your passion enough to dare to simply ask for what you need. Be direct. You’ll be surprised how often people will give you what you ask. And never assume you are not worthy to give help. You never know what you have to offer someone or how you can connect with others if you don’t ask them what they need. Even if you can’t help, asking someone what they need is a profound way to honor them.
So, I’m asking. Right now, I particularly need to find speaking gigs. I am working on an important speaking certification and need to get 20 more speeches in before the end of the year. With that in mind, I’m offering a special “gotta get 20 speeches” discount. There will never be a better time to book me to speak with your group. Don’t assume you can’t afford me, because I gotta do 20 speeches. Can you book me? Or do you know somebody who can book me? Just send me an email at jeanette at the fat chick dot com and let me know what you’re thinking.
And I’m asking. What do you need right now? Can I connect you with somebody to help you with a particular thing? What is standing in your way of reaching your goal? How can I help? Again, feel free to comment or send me an email.
What can I say? Yesterday was a very good day. And I believe today can truly be phenomenal for all of us.
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)