Some of the best emails and texts arrived in my inbox in the last few days were from friends and former students informing me that the small part I played in helping them made a difference in their professional endeavors.
Here is an example I got this Sunday morning, and it put a huge smile on my face: "I just wanted to take this time to thank you for all the help and advice you gave me over the last nine months. Not only did you give me two very solid referrals, but you also gave me advice for the interview process that I did often mentally refer to in the weeks that followed, and was important in me eventually getting hired ..."
Whether it is referring a student to a position or hopping on the phone to do a practice interview, or coaching SEO interns, I find this time well spent. In fact, this is how I spent a lot of my Sunday afternoons. I find strong purpose in doing this. It gives me immense joy to see my former students, current students, or friends flourish and take what they have learned and have accumulated to create more impact in their next endeavors.
Talented individuals need to be known by others that they are talented. They need door openers and advocates. In fact, we all need cheerleaders telling ourselves how great we are. We all need advocates who tell others the same and show their conviction in our capabilities. We remember the people in our lives who give us opportunities, show us the ropes, believe in us, and advocate for us.
I also apply this to working with startup founders and management. Not everyday is rosy, but if the founders and management know that I believe in them and will be their advocate and partner, then everything else will be easier in a generally high-risk and but fun journey that is not for 99% of the people.
Find your cheerleader and advocate. Be a cheerleader and advocate for someone in your network!