There have been times in my life when I’ve been stuck. Although I was giving my all, I wasn’t progressing. Early in my career, I tried to figure it out on my own. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t. What I learned over time was that I needed someone to coach me. I simply couldn’t see where I was going wrong. It was a blind spot for me. An outside expert’s perspective was required to put me on the right path.
Here’s an example. When I first began speaking about leadership, employee engagement, productivity and innovation, I was not getting the results I desired. The problem that I couldn’t see at the time was that I had learned to speak as an investment banker on Wall Street where I was analytical and showed little enthusiasm or emotion. This doesn’t work so well when you’re speaking about leadership and people expect you to inspire and motivate them to become better leaders. Fortunately, a friend of mine with one of the nation’s largest speakers bureaus advised me to go to Twila Thompson at the Actors Institute where I would learn how to connect with an audience. Twila coached me to connect with individual audience members, to project my voice and presence. It required time and practice to get comfortable with this and make these behaviors second nature.
You simply can’t imagine the difference it made. I achieved the result I desired. In hindsight, I can now see that there was no way I was ever going to figure out on my own what Twila taught me. Self-help was simply insufficient.
The point here is that when you’re stuck, get a coach or mentor who excels at what you’re trying to do. Self-help may not be enough to get you over the hurdle. You might also want to hire a coach on an ongoing basis to help you achieve continuous improvement. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to do this. That’s why greatness is so rare. It requires the wisdom and humility to know when the help of others is required to be great.