Thursday, March 14, 2013

People who need people...

...are they the luckiest in the world, as the song says?  Is self-sufficiency overrated? 

Remember when you were a kid...and your mom or babysitter tried to help you tie your shoelaces, but you said, “I can do it myself!”  The urge to be independent, to not rely on anyone else, can be strong.  We don’t want to feel needy, weak or incapable.

But many say asking for help (as opposed to a handout or having someone complete whatever task for you) makes you stronger.  If truthful assistance encourages you to achieve more, and makes the work more enjoyable, why go it alone all the time?

A friend who’s a NYT and USA Today bestselling novelist is creating a workshop about her success being a team effort.  She acknowledges that she wouldn’t be where she is today if not for her editor, agent, virtual assistant, and her critique partners--me and a fellow writer.  She sends her works in progress to us before they go to her industry professionals.  We give  honest feedback and suggest changes.
In award acceptance speeches, recipients often thank their agents or managers, fellow cast members and crew, spouses and family.  They may thank the person/people who connected them to the opportunity that led to the award. 

For example, when I won my Golden Heart® award in 2011 and gave a short speech in front of around 1,500 authors and industry professionals, I thanked the author who’d suggested I write that kind of manuscript, friends in my writing organization, and those who'd encouraged me in person or via phone/emails.  Support can be a key element of success.

When I had a “real job,” colleagues and I often tossed ideas around in the office or asked each other’s opinions about this or that element of a presentation or how to handle a situation.  We all learned and benefitted from the process.

The feelancer often works alone, which at times can be, well, lonely.  It can be a challenge to motivate yourself when your deadline is far off or is self-determined.  I sometimes work with a neighbor, other writers or colleagues so we all get more done.  Going to a coffee shop myself is a nice change of environment, but teaming with a colleague helps us both stay focused, and it's helpful to have someone to run things by.
It's nice and helpful to have others' support, but we need self-discipline the rest of the time.

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