Over the past few days, I’ve had conversations with various people about everything ranging from “What should I do?” to “Where should I go?” to “Is it really worth it?”.
I think we managed to get to a final conclusion/decision in each one, but one thing was patently clear…if you’re facing some kind of personal/ professional challenge, there’s nothing more reassuring than having a friend to turn to.
That’s what has gotten me through the various dilemmas that I’ve faced over the years, and I have come to realize that a strong network of friends/colleagues to whom you can turn is one of the most valuable assets you can have. It’s a lonely feeling when you’re faced with something that threatens to disrupt your life in some way and you don’t have anyone to whom you can turn “just to talk.”
This isn’t just something that happens when you’re starting out in life…we all run into it at some point…me included. The good news is that you can prepare for the inevitable. The bad news is that so many of us don’t.
There are no magic bullets in this. But there are things you can and should do.
> First…don’t be a hermit. Don’t hole up in your office and not venture out.
> Second…don’t be Mr./Ms. “Anonymous.” Be visible. Be seen. Be there.
Those are the “don’ts.” Now how some “do’s”?
> First…wander around. You’d be surprised at how relatively simple it is to strike up conversations with co-workers in the company cafeteria or local coffee shop or wherever folks tend to hang out.
> Second…whatever your profession…become an actively-participating member of the local organization representing your profession. For me now, for example, it’s the Tampa Bay Chapter, Public Relations Society of America. For you, it’s whatever your line of work is. I can guarantee you there’s an organization in the area for folks just like you.
Things aren’t going to happen…or change…overnight. But in time…patience is a virtue…you will start making new friends/acquaintances and will find that, lo and behold, you’re not the only person who has faced this challenge. And, son of a gun, you’ll find that there are others to whom you can ask “What if…?” or “How did…?” questions.
Now…memberships. As so many of you already know, I can’t not talk about memberships. I’ve been a member of PRSA…Public Relations Society of America…for going on 40 years. And I have more than gotten my “money’s worth” from that connection. From job opportunities to career advice to real-time PR advice, I’ve had more opportunities to draw on the wisdom and expertise of my fellow members than I can begin to remember. And, conversely, I have made myself available to others for just the same.
And that’s what it’s all about, folks. It’s recognizing and accepting the fact that we’re all in this exercise called “life” together. It’s friends helping friends, purely and simply.