Power of relationships

Since I began sharing my story last month, I’ve received an overwhelming response from readers that supports my mission, as I know it, to help others feel less alone in their experiences and encourage them to grow through them, instead. At the same time, feedback from these readers has had the unintended effect of allowing ME to feel less alone in mine.

There is, perhaps, nothing as comforting as meeting someone who has gone through a similar experience in life, who will take your hand, walk with you, and confidently tell you that you will make it. It does not matter if you met that person five years ago or five minutes ago; if someone has walked in your shoes, there is an instant bond and element of trust that supersedes time invested in a relationship.

Proverbs 15:22 states, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed.” We were not meant to experience life alone, and business-life is no different.

During both the tumultuous and smooth-sailing times in my life, I have chosen to reach out and surround myself with “experts in the room.” Regardless of whether their specific expertise was in my industry, relevant to a task I had at hand, or applicable to a situation in which I was in the midst of handling, finding another person that could walk alongside me has been instrumental in positioning me well for where I have landed today. 

Moreover, I’ve also experienced situations in which the best connections can be made through existing relationships. For example, when I decided to open my first store, I sought out a gentleman I had known on a personal level for many years and asked if he would meet with me to review my concept and plan, and provide constructive feedback on whether or not to pursue women’s retail in our community. Later on, when I was contemplating closing down the MODE operations, I sought out other professionals (through connections I already had) that had also closed a business or experienced financial loss. Asking them questions about what to expect, how to navigate the waters, and how to ultimately bounce back, provided needed hope when all else seemed hopeless and out of control. 

By forming a healthy habit of seeking counsel in the good times, I mentally trained myself to connect with others in the challenging times, as well, preventing the additional suffering that comes from withdrawing out of embarrassment and fear. And those were the times I needed those relationships the most.

To the readers who let me know they feel less alone after hearing about my challenges, I am here for you, and we will make it through this, together. I’m looking forward to sharing with you more about my experiences, and I hope you will continue to share yours with me!

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