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!

14 thoughts on ““Ring”ing Up My Friends

  1. Yay to all of this!

    Being one that’s not the best in the realm of self promotion either, I empathize with you Amma. It’s tough to dream big, but often hard to act, make connections, and make it happen. I really admire how you are concentrating on turning those big dreams into a concrete reality. I hope to put a “ring on it” (had to. not sorry) and make the trip!

  2. Great thoughts, Amma. Don’t worry about the self-promotion: What you’ve got to say is great, and others who believe strongly in you and in your mission will promote for you. It will happen as you persist in your passion. (Besides, as we PR and marketing types like to claim, third-party validation trumps self-promotion any ol’ day.)

  3. Can I just say that I want to be a part of this so, selfishly, I can soak in all the wisdom and support of what I know will be an awesome group?

    You should also connect with my friend Sahil. He created a group out the Canada way called The Potentialists (which, shockingly, I’m a member of) that mirrors a lot of the great work you’re doing. Read more about him and what he’s working on here: http://sahildhingra.wordpress.com/, follow him on Twitter @sahiltdhingra and let me know if you have questions. High fives for good work lady!

  4. Figure out how to get me there via technology and I am in your circle! So many already listen to what you have to say! Keep moving forward!

  5. Sally, thank you so much- I really appreciate the encouragement! Looking at a space that will hopefully allow others to chime in through Google+, stay tuned 🙂

  6. Lisa, I’d love to check that out- I think I may try and connect to see if any crossovers can be made.
    High five to YOU! 🙂

  7. Thanks Andrew, hoping that the persistence pays off! And in the meantime, if I can help others get to that point, I’m doing my job 🙂

  8. When I read your post, I couldn’t believe the similarities between our stories. I’ve often felt like I was the only one in this position (i.e. hard time self-promoting and asking for help). I am excited to see this event being executed and would love to participate virtually! Keep up the great work you are doing!

  9. Amma this is a great idea! I often feel this way myself. There are so many things I’d like to do, things I’m sure I’m capable of doing but feel like I’m at a loss as to “how to get there”. I hope you’ll write about your reciprocity ring after it happens.

  10. Ann, if you’re able to be in the area on August 18th, it would be wonderful to have you there! Let me know if it’s a possibility, and I can get you more information.

  11. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long)
    so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still
    new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for rookie blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s