December 18, 2017 ・ Written by T.J. Duane

When things are tough - reach out.

Your community’s wisdom can help you overcome challenges.

When things are tough - reach out.

Sometimes life can seem like an endless string of problems. If you’ve ever been laid off, endured a breakup, struggled in school - or all 3 at once! - you’ll know what I mean.

When curveballs keep coming, it can feel like you’re all alone, or that you’re trapped in an unsolvable puzzle.

Here’s the good news - everybody on the planet has faced challenges. Even the most successful people you know have had conflicts at work and in school, and have lived to tell the tale.

This means your network is full of folks who have “been through it,” and can offer support and advice when you’re in a jam. Here’s how to get started:

Reach out. This is hard, especially for the high achievers among us. If you’re used to getting straight A’s or nailing every presentation, it can be uncomfortable to admit when you’re having a hard time. Please don’t try to go it alone. If you’re afraid of how you’ll be perceived, talk to trusted friends first.

Be Vulnerable. It’s OK to open up. Even when you ask for professional advice, don’t feel you’ve got to leave your emotions at the door. Your career is a huge part of your life - one that naturally affects how you feel. The best career coaches in the world know that you’re not a robot.

Share what you learned. What you’re going through has a bright side - your experience can help somebody else. Take a deep breath, file away your newfound knowledge, and remember to pay it forward later.

Reaching out in the Real World

Recently, a friend told me she was having performance problems at her new job. Her boss couldn’t offer the training she needed, and her work days were full of anxiety and uncertainty.

She wasn’t sure if she should stay or go - her resume was already filled with short stints. She was beginning to feel there was something wrong with her, even though she’s a Cornell grad and a historically high performer.

Luckily, she let her community in on her crisis. She worked with a therapist to talk through her challenges. Her partner supported her with home-cooked meals and words of encouragement. Her family reminded her how she always seems to hit the ground running.

Her network helped her reframe the situation and make a new plan. She contacted a friend from college offering business and website advice, and she decided to open shop as a freelancer. She’s still learning the ropes, but much happier now that she’s in charge.

Even as a one-woman show, her career shift was a total team effort. She asked for help, and people supported her.

No matter what challenge you’re facing, there are plenty of people who’ve been there too. Find them on BrightCrowd, and get the help you need. You’ll feel better before you know it.