14 May, 2012  |   5 Comments

People want to see you win.

Walking the dog

Time and time again, I get confused by reality television’s insistence on pitting human against human. That aggressive competition is the opposite of my experience. This sounds naive. I know. Reality tv has been around for years, and I consume the drama willingly and gleefully.

But what makes a reality tv show great and my actual human experience is so far apart, I think it’s time for some course correction.

I should have been more surprised to see the Girl Scouts release a study about the harmful effects this is having on young girls’ development. But there it is, girls, my girls, our girls are growing up believing that they can’t trust people, that they have to compete to win a guy’s attention and that their value lies in their appearance. Ugh.

Walking the dog

Collaboration, a comparison

Reality Television My Experience
When I say what I want, the group conspires on how to get it so that I can’t. When I say what I want, everyone in the group starts scheming on how to help me get it.
“I’m not here to make friends.” “I’m only here to make friends.”
My looks are the only thing I have to offer. My looks simply support my messaging.
It’s a zero sum game. We all win when we all learn.
I keep secrets to keep my competitive advantage. I teach what I’ve learned.
My achievement depends upon your elimination. We can all achieve together.

Every Hale Bopp or so, there’s been that guy in the office who took credit for my ideas – or who openly undermined my efforts, but most of the time, it’s all collaboration. In all the years I’ve held jobs, I’ve worked with 2 of those people. That’s a lot of jobs, with hundreds of people. Perhaps it’s my industry, but there have only been two, two sociopaths for whom those reality tv lessons rang true.

Maybe it’s because I worked hard to join networking groups of people in different circles — tech, wine country, lifestyle — where the whole reason for our collaboration is to  help each other out.

These loose associations have turned into a pillowy soft landing place for when things aren’t going so well. These groups serve as a trampoline to launch me back on my feet. The core value of all of these groups is to belong to a community of people helping each other succeed.

Of the three groups I’m thinking of, each meets once a year, each is roughly about 5 – 10 people strong and each is a continuing professional support system for this new internet.

Walking the dog

If not, here are a few tips for starting a group like this of your own.

Figure out what you want
You can’t get what you want if you don’t spend the time figuring it out. It seems silly, but you might not actually want that tv show, that book deal, that singing contract.

Aim high
Ask people you admire. Ask people who have something to offer the world. Surround yourself with people you want to be more like.

Meet in person
One of my groups meets every other month, one meets twice a year and one meets once a year. This in-person meeting is our last resort for trust.

Cap the membership
Keeping it small keeps it focused.

Use great technology
One of my groups lives mostly in an email thread, another in a private Facebook group. Google hangouts can work, Skype too. We have some amazing tools to collaborate big. Let’s do that.

Do you have a group like that?
A sort of professional development group?
A group that surrounds you that cheers you on to aim higher and celebrates hard wins?

How do you keep it going?

5 thoughts on “People want to see you win.

  1. 1

    I love the idea of this. I’m part of a group but it’s large. Even so, it’s a very supportive, trusting place. But now, you’ve inspired me to think about starting my own. Small, intimate, helpful.

  2. 2
    Kayla says:

    This is totes-fantastique. I can’t stand the “I’m not here to make friends” chant. That makes me want to hurtle myself at the television and smash it into pieces. It’s not just rude, it’s now become generic, which in my opinion, is worst. I belong to a fantastic group and since joining, have watched my creativity grow and thrive. I’d be looking for a group if I hadn’t already found the perfect one.

  3. 3
    Brigid says:

    How does one find a group? This is possibly an idiot thing to ask, but with full time jobbing plus two little ones plus writing it’s hard to get out there and meet folks. Also I’m introverted, so I don’t really want to get out there and meet folks. Sigh.

    The internet has been wonderful for helping meet people that share the same quirky interests, but most I haven’t met in person, and they’re more one-on-one communiques.

    • 3.1
      Helen Jane says:

      Not an idiot question at all!
      (Because, Lordy, I hear you on the full time jobby job thing.)

      I put my favorite group together via an individual email ask. I sent individual emails to people I had met in person that I thought would be into it.
      (Having met them in person already was a huge bonus for me.)

      The worst they could say was “no” (actually the worst would be no reply) and the best could be a new cohort in life. That to me was worth the risk. Because, if you ask me, new life cohorts are worth it.

      My ask looked like this:

      Hi, I’m putting together a small private Facebook group of like-minded people that would be part of a network interested in, “ENTER REASON HERE.”

      All I’m asking for you is to be a member. Participation would be limited to “ENTER LIMIT HERE.”

      The point is to support each other in “ENTER GOAL HERE” and I think we could all really help each other out.

      And then list next steps and a hearty thanks.

      Hope that helps!

  4. 4

    I love you and I love this post – and I can attest that you are walking the walking, as a blessed benficiary of your encouragement and support. I’m thankful to know you and grateful to be in a circle of people who want to grab hands and push each other forward.

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