Earlier this week, I received my all-time favorite type of email: one of the “thank you” variety.
A current student of mine has just gotten a job with a freelance writing company in Boston, the posting for which I forwarded to her and her co-newspaper editor on a whim. I saw that it was something they might be interested in, and passed it along. I was so happy to hear that the interview process had gone well for her, and that she was on her way to achieving something exciting. I would hope that we all try to do those sorts of things for our friends, families, colleagues, and protegees.
But what about those hopes and dreams we harbor deep down, but haven’t yet spoken into existence? Or have, but haven’t spoke up about what it takes to make them happen?
If someone asks, “What do you ultimately want to do?”, I have lots of answers.
I love writing, and I want to publish on a more consistent basis. I want to go back to school and add a deeper knowledge of organizational psychology to my arsenal of excessive knowledge. I love presenting, and would love to take that drive into the arena of professional consulting and facilitating. Down the road I want to teach and advise- anything and everything 🙂
But the follow-up question, “So how are you going to get there?”, is a tough one. As I’ve stated before, I am horrible about self-promotion. Sometimes it feels like I need to grow into these dreams. And – above all else – I don’t know how to get myself there yet. If it were about a month ago, I would have let those worries and fears take over. Thankfully, I learned about a cool concept that I want to test out amongst my friends and colleagues.
Ultimately, I don’t have to get myself there. I just need to ask for help. And I’m not alone in that. I have a lot of friends with big dreams, but might need a little help. How do we solve that dilemma? With a ring.
Not that kind of ring. Seriously.
Through my new life crush Adam Grant, I learned about the concept of the Reciprocity Ring. Developed by the team at Humax, a reciprocity ring is a social designed to address the unique needs of those in the room. You come with a mindset of helping others and the courage to speak up for what you want. Each member of the circle talks about his or her hopes and dreams, and what could help them be achieved- a contact, an experience, a resource. The job of the group is to volunteer those things that they can offer. When Grant has performed the exercise in his classroom, classmates have achieved such varied goals as getting a classmate an informational interview with a former Six Flags executive, custom made clothes for a friend of a classmate with a congenital condition that renders off the rack fashions too big, and even interview advice for jobs that class members were competing for. The spirit of giving compelled people to help reach their goals.
So here’s the deal: I’m organizing a version of this for the women in my life this summer. On Sunday, August 18th at 10am, I want to gather as many of you all as possible (in Boston and, depending on tech capabilities, farther away) to help each other out. As a lifelong “one of the guys”, I’ll be the first to admit I spend considerably more time with my male friends, and know about the gifts they have to offer, than I do the women. What’s more, I want to help foster an environment where women can support each other.
What do you dream about doing? What are you hoping to do one day soon? And how can we as a community help you get there?
I’m not sure yet where it’s going to be hosted (suggestions are welcome!), but I’d like to be able to go somewhere with the connectivity to address the goals of those who can’t be there in person. But ultimately, I want to help those who are in the same boat as me – at times too proud or tentative to ask for help, but badly in need of it – feel empowered to speak in an environment designed to help them.
Would a reciprocity ring work where you live or work? What would you ask for? And would you like to be at this one? Let me know!