The best advice I’ve ever received. . .

-By Jenna DeFabio

I am living proof that we all turn into our parents. Whether it be cultivating a new crop of sales connectors, planning out to-the-minute prep for a dinner party, or maintaining the modern day equivalent of clipping articles and sharing them with friends and family (thank you, social media for making this so much easier to do!), I find myself becoming more and more like my dad every single day.  It’s only right that the best advice I have ever received came from him.

So what did my father tell me? His wisdom came to me in the form of an email after I had been laid off from the non-profit I worked at for five years right out of college.  He knew I had been ready for a change, and although it was scary to be staring unemployment square in the eyes, I was motivated to make this a significant transition into a new career.  I knew I wanted to get into HR or Recruiting, to continue doing meaningful work with people at the focus of my efforts, but I didn’t know how I was supposed to get there.  I was struggling to see a clear path, and that is when his parental spidey-sense kicked in.

He sent me this:

Tell everyone you know what you’re looking for—ask for help. Tell your friends, your family, your hairstylist, your barista.  Eventually you will be talking to the person who has the power to get you what you want.

Simple advice, even obvious, but it was something that I hadn’t really thought to do on that level, and it was ultimately what landed me my job here at Maven and kick-started my recruiting career.  It’s Networking 101, and although there are a million reasons why it is difficult for many people to ask others for help, it is so vitally important that we take this risk, and do it often.

Whether in a personal or professional sense, asking for what you want can feel vulnerable, but I have found that the more you do it, the more empowering it becomes! From negotiating contracts, to finding a meaningful career path, strengthening the interpersonal dynamics of your team, or achieving your ideal relationship—you have to tell people what it is that you want. Not everyone will be able to help, but the good news is not everyone needs to help in order for your intentions to be effective.

The next time you find yourself struggling with how to get what you want, take my dad’s advice, and simply ask for it.