When things are hard,
and you know you need to talk it out,
work it out,
sort it out,
where do you turn?
Forget coaches, mentors, [insert jargon].
Who do you know that will listen?
There must be someone you trust.
Someone who isn’t part of the problem.
A person who cares about you,
wants the best for you,
and will clearly and compassionately,
call you on your BS.
It probably doesn’t matter that they know all the details,
or exactly what you do.
What matters is,
they know you.
Regardless of age, title, or experience, it’s tough to make it in this world without someone you can turn to when faced with sink or swim.
When you’re caught in a difficult situation or struggling with a tough decision, do you feel alone?
When you’re overwhelmed and feel like you’re drowning, where’s your lifeguard?
A lifeguard knows that one of the worst mistakes she can make is to jump into the pool to grab and pull a drowning person to safety.
The drowning person will likely pull both of them down.
Instead, she immediately looks for better options to help the person reach safety such as a long pole or life ring.
Only as the last option would a lifeguard enter the water and then with an object of some sort to extend to the victim and pull them to shore.
That’s the role of our lifeguards.
They don’t get in the water to thrash around with us so we feel better about drowning or try to drag us to safety.
And they don’t stand on the side of the pool shouting the latest swimming tips or lecturing us on our failure to master the breaststroke.
They’re the people who extend understanding, challenges, ideas, and options to help us keep our heads above water until we can swim on our own.
They’ve been in the deep end, struggled through the hard lessons and learned from the lifeguards who’ve helped them along the way.
We all need that person in our lives and in our work.
Find that person.
Ask for help.
Follow their lead.
Learn to swim.
Build your confidence.
Become a lifeguard.