Wednesday, July 2, 2014
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Several decades ago, I was a young cocky manager who thought I knew it all.
After all, I just won manager of the month, scored a great bonus and received an awesome promotion.
An associate of mine, we will call her Mary, reached out to me at my awards celebration and said if I ever needed her help, just let her know.
Mary was my hero; keyword here is “was.” She was a leader, my mentor… but in my eyes, I had no need for her anymore.
“Thanks for the offer Mary, let me think about.”
Some twenty years later, I ran into Mary. She had left the company, started a new career and in my eyes, she was very successful. I of course boasted about my success and never even asked Mary how she was doing. Once again, she reached out to me and offered her help. Really, I thought… “Thanks for the offer Mary, let me think about it.”
Fast forward to today.
I was attending a business event, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Mary walking towards me. She seemed distraught. We engaged in conversation and it turns out that Mary was struggling with her business, had been for years and needed help. Help that I knew I could offer.
“Mary,” I said, “please let me help you.”
She looked at me and said, “Thanks for offer Bob, let me think about it.”
I left the event very frustrated and confused.
Leadership is giving, and when Mary offered me help, I shut the door before I had a chance to see what was on the other side, denying her the opportunity to give. Years later, she reciprocated…I think not to be revengeful, but since I never accepted her help, she probably thought my offer was not genuine.
Songwriter and poet James Durst once wrote:
“Help one another; there’s no time like the present and no present like the time.”
No matter how successful you are in business, when someone offers you help, accept it…help is giving…help is a gift.
This is my 124th blog posting