As much as it’s great to be independent and git er done yourself, we all need help sometimes. Or, maybe we don’t really need help, but it sure goes a long way when we have it.
Being at shows and on the road the over past month has had some make-or-break moments and trying times, and I don’t think I would have gotten through it all nearly as successfully without the help of others. From the kind luggage guy in New Orleans who retrieved five 50 pound suitcases and escorted me on a long walk to my rental car shuttle, to my sweet cousins leaving messages to keep me excited, to awesome customers understanding my schedule and working around it, people have really come through. You never know what may be a breaking moment or what small thing completely makes the day (like a Lafayette, LA waitress calling me both “baby” and “boo” with a southern accent in the span of 22 seconds).
But beyond outsiders reaching in to help, I’ve really been surrounded and inspired by others going through it with me and reaching out while we’re in it together. In California, a fellow rep friend drove me through territory she knew and explained neighborhoods I didn’t know so I could better reference everything. More experienced salespeople have given me account lists, recommendations, pep talks, words of encouragement, and guidance. At the most recent tradeshow I was at, representatives for other lines covered my booth, entertained customers, and ran to find me when potential business came for me.
And then there is my latest sales and travel partner. By the time I started driving the roads of the southeast states this week I was already due for a massage and navigating the new territory to me took a lot of energy. People in my “normal” life have been supportive of my schedule and offered space and sweet words, but it’s hard to know exactly what someone else is going through when you aren’t in it yourself. Even if you have been in it at some point, I find that we as humans forget pretty quickly and our memories don’t hold all-encompassing accuracy.
So, as much outside support as I have, it was helpful and inspiring to a new level to have someone in the thick of it with me lifting me up and pitching in when I needed it most. When I had more bags than limbs, she would step in so collectively we could manage both of our loads. We wrote orders for each other, and plugged each others’ lines. She tried on my shoes for buyers to see and I rocked her watches to gain other buyers’ attention. We scouted stores we could both work with, but also pointed out to the other someone we individually couldn’t work with but the other could. When I woke up with a scratchy voice proclaiming I was too tired, she reminded me we were almost there. I drove while she scheduled appointments, we entertained each other during slow times, and we calmed each other down in stressful moments of doing too much or avoiding highway traffic collisions. Neither of us had it easier than the other, but no matter how hard we had it individually we made sure to support the other and get through it the best way for both of us.
Things really could have gone down a lot differently. They could have even worked in different ways. We could have split up at times, pursued our own business separately, kept our own contacts, or only talked to customers about our individual lines. We could have gotten caught up in what was fair or even. But with each of us working for both of us, it somehow made the load seem lighter. We found energy in each other and what we each had going on, and split the weight of any setbacks.
Getting to experience this has reminded me to take a look around and see who else is going through something similar to me, on any level, and reach out. When we’re in school, friends made in classes and similar academic schedules offer a specific support since we go through things at the same time. Now that I’m outside of a structure or similar setup, I appreciate it more and am conscious of how I can play a part with others.
I invite you to look around you in your communities and groups, some you may not even realize exist, to find who you can support, and may be there to support you. Partner up!
Image Layouts: Stephanie Dispoto
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