Archive for the ‘Colleagues’ Category

Attagirl

I got the nicest compliment from a colleague last week. Really made my day.

She had been busy working on some marketing stuff for her business, and asked for some feedback on a small part of the picture.

I’ve been swamped with client work and projects. It would have been so much easier to just say, “Looks great!” and been done with it.

But I saw some things that could be improved to better accomplish what she wanted, and I gave her my honest-to-goodness thoughts, and didn’t think anything more of it.

She sends me back an email, saying simply, “See, this is why I love you to pieces.”

She probably had no idea how much that simple sentiment meant to me, especially at that moment. It got me to about one of the reasons why I formed the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce

Socializing and having folks who will give you an encouraging “attagirl” (or “attaboy” as the case may be) without hesitation is so important. It’s necessary, it’s supportive, it’s what creates community and bonds us with each other, and we all need that.

And in our industry, you can go to any number of organizations and get that.

Sometimes that’s all you get, though.

Just as important is honest feedback so that we can help each other grow professionally as business owners.

I truly believe that an equal kindness is the person who is willing to share that honest, constructive feedback along with the “attagirls” and “attaboys.”

But not everyone sees that as a kindness; they think it’s being negative or not being supportive.

For me, I think it’s THE most supportive thing a person can do–truly giving of one’s self and experience, knowledge and perspective to help someone else increase their knowledge and raise their consciousness.

It’s really easy to give pats on the back. What’s not so easy is telling the truth about what you really might think about something even though it might be helpful.

We all worry about hurting someone’s feelings. How many times have you thought, “Gee, I really want to share this with that person, but they (or everyone one) are going to think I’m a know-it-all/negative/mean/unsupportive/fill-in-the-blank?”

But feedback—real, meaningful, useful feedback—is vital to our business growth just as much as encouragement and the attagirls/attaboys.

I wanted to create a community where people who aren’t playing pretend business and have a dream of making real success (and real money) of their business, could not only get encouragement and support, but also that honest feedback from their colleagues that is critical to their growth and success.

For me at least, that’s the greatest kindness I can offer, and it’s what gives my heart the most joy.

Honest thoughts with helpful intentions is NEVER negative.

I know I can be very direct in my writing, and often I simply don’t have the time to play with wording to make sure the delivery comes out perfect and isn’t confused with being harsh or rude.

Hey, I’m working on it, LOL. BUT, I’d rather do that than simply take the easy way out by giving false praise or saying whatever I think someone wants to hear or because that’s what everyone else is saying.

That would absolutely be out of integrity for me.

So let’s not forget about those other kindnesses we can do for each other, and help each other grow and reach beyond comfort zones.

What about you? Have you found yourself ever not contributing your true feedback due to peer pressure? Did taking the easy way out ever bother you?

Dear Danielle: Oh, No! There’s Two of Us in My Town

Dear Danielle:

I just discovered there’s someone else in the same business in my town! I’m afraid she might not like having competition in the same area. She’s apparently very active in the business community, and I’m really worried that this could put a damper on my own networking possibilities. What should I do? —NC

Actually, I view this as a positive because having more than one person in our industry in the same area can lend credibility to what we do in the eyes of the business community.

Having colleagues in your local area can also be an advantage because you can combine your efforts in raising awareness of the industry in your local business community and collaborate together in educating them.

It just might prove to be very fruitful for you to bring your local colleagues togetehr and talk about ways to lay that foundation and how to share efforts and costs of promoting the industry in your community (this is what’s known as co-opting advertising).

You could all put a presentation together, and shop it around to the various local business groups that offer any number of opportunities to do this. In my area, there are the Chamber of Commerce, networking groups, business associations, district associations, Toastmasters clubs, various industry groups and associations, etc.

And if you are a shy person, having colleagues to share the presenting makes it easier and you feel more confident.

By focusing on getting the information out there, it becomes education rather than advertisement.

The brilliance of this is that by making what we do as administrative experts well-known, your own personal business will benefit.

Who do think they’ll be calling when they need our brand of services (which your presentation has convinced them they need)?

Why, the people who gave them the info in the first place!

So, don’t think of colleagues as competition.

There are more work and clients to go around than you can possibly imagine. And you personally need (and can work with) only so many.

The businesses and industries we currently serve are only a fraction of those we could be helping grow. We have only begun to scratch the surface.

And one person’s non-fitting client can be the next one’s ideal client. 😉