– Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz
I was recently reading this story from the last issue of GLOSS and it triggered off lots of similarities for the world in which we are all operating.
LBDG member Kate Stone had written about collaboration within the world of LBDG, titling it ‘Follow The Yellow Brick Road’. She talked about members from all over Australia not only receiving help, but being willing to reach out and ask for it. This is less common than you may think. To be vulnerable in a business context is more than just a brave move for most; to some, it is incredibly alarming, and seen by them, as I have written about before, as a sign of weakness.
But we are operating in what is essentially a terribly uncertain and fast-changing world – where nobody knows what the future is going to hold 10, 5, 2 years or for that matter 10 hours from now – and where the one constant is you. Your passion, your purpose, your reason for being. And to keep on that constant path – on your own Yellow Brick Road – alone, is simply alienist. It is something we left behind in the 80s and 90s.
Now? It’s about finding your own Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion to defeat those flying monkeys with.
Let’s face it, there are times when we all need business help. It’s not shameful. It’s real life. You may be facing illness, team members leaving suddenly, an upswing in activity (hurray!) – the variables are endless. And you can reach the Emerald City if you are willing to identify when and what help you need. It’s all about having that final destination in mind when you are mapping out your journey; and following it despite the highs, the lows, and yes, the downright uglies when you do need to say ‘not waving, drowning’.
Maybe you can look at it like one of Dorothy’s companions, and identify exactly the area in which you are putting out an SOS:
- ‘If I only had a brain’: do you need IT resources, accounting packages, technical assistance? You wouldn’t build a house without blueprints, an architect and a builder; and we need the same team around us to add technical expertise to our own knowledge. It gives us a competitive advantage in an online world.
- ‘If I only had a heart’: do you need help identifying what makes your brand authentic? How do you nail the soft side of your business. It’s easier said than done. That vulnerability, that softness and honesty, is beaten out of us in the schoolyard and the workplace; it’s even present on everyday social media, yet it’s what the consumer craves. Ask those who specialise in branding to help you engage.
- ‘It takes courage’: just reaching out in the first place and saying ‘yes I need help with brand/business area/I’m not coping’ is an act of courage in itself. But also identifying what it is you want is also courageous.
Those pesky flying monkeys will stay in your mind as long as you let them – they are your own mental barrier, they are you saying ‘don’t reach out, don’t be vulnerable, don’t allow yourself to ask for help’.
Just imagine having the strength to defeat them and that Wicked Witch once and for all. Strength comes from within, and we make it to the Wizard and those amazing ruby red slippers by saying ‘I am willing to admit I have need of…’
I’ll take mine in a size 6 thanks.