Received an unexpected, albeit not unpleasant, kick in the butt this evening. It came in the form of a Twitter conversation with @wilkravitz, whose must-read blog is here: http://vampirewonderland.blogspot.com/ We were discussing how difficult it is to get a leg-up in writing, or any business, without someone taking the time to give you a hand.
Now I don’t want to hear anyone spout the “it’s all about how good you are” adage, because we know that’s really a crock of shit. Yes, one needs talent, but that talent is much more palatable when served up on a silver platter of who-you-know. I don’t care if we’re talking about writers, singers, computer designers or future Presidents, someone, somewhere along the line, made a phone call, called in a favor or simply dropped a name. That’s how it’s done, folks, and we all know it.
Since we all know it, why does it seem that so many people who have “made it” are so adverse to helping those that come after? Why do they greedily pull up the ladder after themselves? Why do the successful operate from a perspective of scarcity rather than abundance? Is the pie really so small that they feel they must hog the entire thing? Or are they so insecure in their talent, feeling that they somehow don’t deserve the riches bestowed upon them, that they can’t risk anyone else finding out their dirty little secret?
Whatever else it might be, it is certainly sad. No matter who you are or where you are in your career, take a minute to see if you can help someone. I’m not saying do the work for them – just introduce them or their work to someone, make that phone call, drop that name. When we give, we always receive much more in return.
When you’ve made it, remember your friends, respect those who have assisted you, and reach back to lend a helping hand. Maybe you can be the person who the person who changes things from two steps forward, one step back, to forward progress. Someone recently took the time to do this for me. While I’m still not on the always-moving-forward track, it sure felt good to know I wasn’t riding this train alone.