Kitty in a corn field somewhere in Iowa.

I’d Like to Phone a Friend

How often during an average week do you ask for help? If you stop and think, you may realize it’s pretty frequent. When I use the word “help,” I am referring to simple things like asking for a network introduction or inquiring about a great travel or restaurant recommendation. Sometimes, though, needs are more significant. Did you know @KellerofCapsule’s mom gave a complete stranger a kidney? Needs do come in all shapes and sizes.

I started thinking about this recently as I escaped Minneapolis for an impromptu girls’ weekend. My friend, Amy, shared that she has a small group of core friends who she considers her “lifelines,” each providing a different area of expertise. She went on to explain that she always knows whom to call when certain life questions arise.

Lovely perspective.

I pondered this thoughtfully from the backseat as the three of us puttered from small town to small town amidst endless cornfields. The friend we visited for the weekend lives in Jewell, Iowa, a town of 1,200 residents. So here, immersed in heavenly surroundings, I identified my personal lifelines. I crafted my list in the event I would need to “phone-a-friend.”

In full disclosure, this sentimental topic came from hysterical laughter as Stacey, our Iowa friend and Commodities Manager at a Jewell biorefining facility explained the difference between field and sweet corn. She also stressed that, at my age, I should never volunteer to detassel corn or walk beans. As the expert, I will heed her advice. Throwing question after question her way, I thought to myself, “Huh, here I am on a girls’ weekend and I’m learning how to turn field corn into ethanol.” As she gave us a tour of the POET plant, I was also surprised and pleased to see the suggestive naming philosophy and progressive design applied amongst the country roads where it was least expected. Well done, POET. And thank you, Stacey, for sharing your expertise. I am impressed and now more knowledgeable.

This week, back at the Capsule worldwide HQ, I continue to ponder lifelines — professional in nature this time. Who do I know that I can call upon in times of need, small or large? I am thankful for a network filled with a rich diversity of thinking and backgrounds. Thanks to social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, meeting people over the years and developing relationships has been a fruitful process. I know I have lifelines to cover any professional question or challenge I may encounter.

I always return from girls’ weekend refreshed and renewed. But this time, I also came home with greater knowledge of the heartland and a new perspective. Personal and professional, some lifelines have been present since day one. Others are more recently defined. Nonetheless, I value them all.

Who are your lifelines? And, maybe more important, what areas of knowledge or insight do you provide to your personal and professional networks? Realize, you are someone’s lifeline.

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