Once I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me (see last post), I was ready to move forward.
Lesson 2: “Be authentic and speak from your heart.”
Part of recovery is getting up in front of rooms filled with strangers and sharing your story of how you came to find sobriety. The first few times I did this, I was nearly paralyzed with fear. Fear that I would stumble, ramble or say something stupid. And ultimately the fear that if people really knew the “real” me, they would run screaming in the opposite direction. Well, they didn’t run. They identified with me. And they confided that my honesty helped them be more honest with themselves.
It works just as well in business. When I give a presentation, I always include a story from my life that helps illustrate whatever point I’m trying to make. And I’m honest about my stumbles along with my successes. Sharing such experiences doesn’t make you weak. It invites people to identify with you, to recognize you as human.
Lesson 3:“Learn how to ask for help.”
Being humble and asking for help is not a weakness, it’s a strength. When I asked a group of total strangers to help me stop ruining my life, they gladly did so without expecting anything in return. In the business world, I’ve found the same generosity of spirit. As a cub reporter, I was tasked with writing all the banking stories for a special business issue (even though I had no education or background in finance). Instead of trying to fake my way through it, I gamely called local bankers, admitted my ignorance and listened intently as they graciously gave me a crash course in finance so that I could write my stories.