During the pitch practice of a recent coaching session I asked my client “What do you need?” Although it is rare for anyone to come out and ask the question in this form, this is the point of a pitch, to address the resources we need in order to get to where we want to be.
Pitch practice is a part of every coaching session. I refrain from using “What do you need?” as a prompt until about the fifth session. At this point the client is comfortable, or at least starting to get comfortable, talking about them self. Rarely when I put this out as the initiator of our conversation is there a prompt and concise response. It is challenging for most to articulate what is needed to get where they desire to be. I think there are two reasons for the awkward pause.
First, we struggle to know where we want to go. If we do not know what our destination is, how will we know what we need to get there. For instance, I enjoy traveling. It is easy to imagine that my goal in life is “to travel frequently”. I think this is admirable, but it is hard to know what I should ask of others if I have no specificity in my destination. What I will need to stroll the boulevards of Paris is starkly different from what is required to bushwhack through the rainforest of Costa Rica. The means to get there, the knowledge once I am there, and the tools/resources I should have on hand vary incredibly between the two.
A desire to “succeed” in business is admirable but fails to define a real destination. There are many details lacking in this type of goal. Even the more specific goal of finding funding for business is lacking. Are you looking for equity, debt, or gifts? Intimately knowing the destination we are trying to get to will drastically improve our understanding of what to ask of others to help us get there. It will accelerate our flight to the beach.
Second, we struggle to ask for help. Ego often goes hand in hand with creative and entrepreneurial practice. Ego certainly is needed when an artist dances naked in the street or an entrepreneur assumes $700,000 in debt. Your psyche needs to be strong to endure that type of risk. However, rare is the person who can change the world on their own, or for that matter even their own life. We lack all the skills that are required to achieve our fullest potential. We weren’t born with the knowledge and even if our genes are perfect, we still need mentors to show us how to use them. It is a fallacy to think that we will never need help. The sooner we learn to ask for it, the faster we will achieve our goals.
How do we get to a point where we can put out into the world effectively what we need?
Reflection and humility.
We need to afford ourselves the mental space to comprehend our destination. It needs to be specific and timely. It is harder to hit the west coast at some future date then San Francisco by the end of October. We need to give ourselves permission to recognize we need help AND that it is okay to seek it out. Frequently, the biggest obstacle in life is our self, and many times it takes someone else to move us.
Are you ready to stroll the streets of Paris, hike the trails of Monte Verde, land the next big paying gig…. if you know where you want to go JUST ASK.