I grew up believing the myth of the self-made (wo)man.
One part of how this myth shaped me focused on the “self-made” part. I truly believed that to succeed and to have actually earned that success, you had to do it all yourself. This came with a sidecar: that asking for help was absolutely verboten .
I was lucky enough to work for some very successful men in my early 20’s. I saw that if they had a problem, they picked up the phone and call someone for help. They didn’t ruminate or get stuck trying to figure it out themselves – their only thought was who they would call first.
The first time I saw this my ill-informed younger self thought “Geez, this guy doesn’t do anything himself, he’s always calling for help. What an impostor!” Thankfully the Universe was persistent in providing examples for me and I worked for other successful men who did the SAME thing.
It dawned on me that this wasn’t a failure – it was the key to their success! There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. It takes all kinds of help to be successful in life. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t great at asking for help. We don’t want to look dumb, weak or incompetent.
It takes a village: a team working with us towards our goals, advisors to keep us out of trouble, been-there-done-that mentors to show us the way, accountability partners to hold our feet to the fire, friends and family to cheer us on and dust us off when we’ve hit the dirt.
So when I put my hand up (via a social media contact) and got the opportunity to have lunch with an Alberta business icon, I chose Sandra Sing Fernandes – named one of Alberta Venture magazine’s Top 50 Most Influential People for 2015.
A former model and graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Sandra worked her way up in the fashion and art worlds. She is the founder and Creative Director of Western Canada Fashion Week and the Editor-in-Chief of Phabrik Magazine.
A free hour with an industry mentor? Sign me up!
I resisted the urge to try and impress her, instead laying my problems and obstacles at her feet along with my vision for the future. It worked – one hour turned to three. I got all sorts of feedback and even better, an open door to ask her about my future issues.
To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ
To read the full interview, click here.
For more on mentorship and success check out the article links we’ve gathered on our Movin’ On Up Pinterest board here. We’ve also got outfit suggestions that are corner-office ready and the handbags to go with it.