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It’s not what you know, but who you know.

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The title makes an important point.  Education and knowledge is important, I am definitely not debating that point.  In fact, the reason support and connections is important is to fill in those gaps of knowledge.  I can tell you honestly that I would not be where I am today without the help and support from different people I have met.  Family has obviously been with me the longest, but friends have been just as important.

Many of you reading this will probably be saying, “I know this already”.  It all sounds good, like something you would see in a greeting card, but let’s look deeper than the cliche “no man is an island”.

I am trained in the field of counseling.  There is no business education included in that degree.  I was told the importance of “selling” myself and networking, but there was little practical information given on how to do that.  I had to rely on my real life experience and people I met along the way to teach me what I needed to learn on the business side.  I tell you this to illustrate how open and humble I had to become in order to ask for help.  I didn’t want to ask, at first.  I wondered how it would come across. Like many others, I found myself having thoughts that perpetuated the problem.

1.       I felt helpless

2.       I felt hopeless

Helplessness is the feeling that you are alone.  No one is able or willing to help.  No one understands.  This is one of the biggest lies we believe.  This causes isolation, sometimes emotionally, sometimes physically.  In session, when the subject of support comes up, I am often told that no one understands or cares.  I will tell you that I have been through this feeling myself.  It’s a terrible feeling to feel alone, weak, and unimportant.  But as I said before, this feeling is a lie.  We tell ourselves this because it seems easier than chancing someone else telling us.  There are people that don’t understand.  That is okay.  There are people that don’t care.  That is okay, too.  But don’t let yourself think that NO ONE understands or cares.  Give people a chance and search out the support that is so vital to progress.

Hopelessness is the second condition that we get into that exacerbates the problem.  Hopelessness is the feeling that nothing will change, no matter what happens.  This feeling intensifies when accompanied by helplessness.  It can also worsen with time.

Yes, I am saying not all wounds heal with time.

Hopelessness also makes us want to isolate ourselves, because if something won’t change, why talk about it.  Both of these thoughts keep us from addressing the problem and asking for help.  This is why connections are important.  Sometimes, it takes someone challenging these thoughts, in order to help break through and move forward.

 I’ll never forget when I first told my wife that I wanted to go into private practice.   She said, “are you sure you can do that”.  She went on to remind me that I had been trained in counseling, but not in business.  That is when I began seeking out the connections that I would need.  Fast forward to the present.  I have learned a lot about business, and from friends that I can still contact if/when I need more advice or support.

This is the take away point:

These relationships didn’t just happen.  I talked to several people before making the current connections that I now value so much.  I had to break through the slump of talking to people that didn’t understand or didn’t care.  I didn’t give up.  I now encourage you to do the same.  If you have something in your life that your having difficulty dealing with, search out the help you need.  Don’t believe that everyone is the same, that no one cares or understands.  If I can help, let me know, even if it is just prayer.

Thank you for reading.

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Toby Riley

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