Part of every day for me consists of emails and other messages asking me for help. “Chris, can you help me get more Twitter followers?” (By the way, here’s how to get more Twitter followers). “Can you help me make money?” (Here’s how to make some money). “Can you retweet this?” (Here’s how to spread your wings for more retweets.)
I’ve built my business model around being helpful.
I get my leads from helping people. When I write posts about a certain industry, I’m often approached by this industry to speak professionally, or even provide marketing consulting. It’s how I’ve made a living for the last few years.
But, if you want to know a secret, the best way to find help in this universe, or the best way to make use of the resources the universe has to offer, relies on a shift in your perspective.
Help yourself. And when I say this, I’m not saying, “Don’t ask me for anything.” Here’s what I mean – your success will hinge on the following shift in how you see things and how you implement things:
Think of good questions that will build your own capabilities. Think of how you can get yourself ready to receive and contribute to the help you’re asking for, so that you’ll be ready to utilize the help. Think of ways you can turn that one ask into information that you can scale and expand and use multiple times.
The difference being, you can get much more out of your requests for help if they equip you to drive your own ideas and efforts forward, versus just seeking a temporary borrowing of resources, or a brief execution.
In other terms, give a man a fish, and he’ll have smelly hands. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll have reasons to lie (or something like that. Who knows how that one is said?)
I’m always noodling on some project or idea or another. Some of my recent ideas involve how to better use corporate structure to enact business deals. I had this great conversation with Joe Sorge, and that gave me ideas for a few questions that I can ask a few other business people in the coming months, so that I can gather their responses into a little virtual advisory board before I take action.
How I help myself in this case is that I figure out the right question to shape my own hypothesis.
I help myself build platform for my social media efforts by commenting and participating in other people’s projects. By taking part in responding to them, by helping them spread the word about their efforts, I’m never at a loss to get support and participation in my projects.
I help myself by taking copious notes on what I learn in Third Tribe Marketing, so that I won’t have to ask people questions later (I learn via passive sources). I help myself by reading books, inside and outside my vertical, so that I can get lots of ideas.
How are you helping yourself? How are you helping others? Is there a way you can turn the information you provide into the kind of information others would need to help themselves? How would you go about doing that?