When I see my friends doing something compelling or interesting, I have this deep desire to do anything I can to help them succeed. Does anyone else feel that? I want to do what I can to help push their art or product or whatever. And I don’t mean I give them advice or lip service. I mean actual help. I was thinking about this recently while out walking my dog. Things popped up from way back in middle school and I noticed a common trend from over the years that I have a strange desire to help people accomplish their dreams. Here are a few examples:
- I was in middle school. My friend, Jared, was a musician. He had a couple of self-produced tapes (yes, tapes). He had a show coming up that he told me he was excited about. I had just received a brand new CD burner as a gift. I think it burned at 1x (those who know, know how slowwww that is). It was one of the first CD burners to hit the consumer market. I spent days and nights leading up to Jared’s show converting his tapes to CDs. I thought it would be a much better product for him to sell. He didn’t ask me to do it. As a matter of fact, I surprised Jared on the day of the show with a stack of CDs for him to sell. To this day, I don’t know if he thought it was cool, cheesy, or creepy. But I didn’t care. I just had this deep desire to help his music career in any way that I could.
- Fast forward to high school and most of college. The internet was still a fairly new thing and the hot idea at the time was small businesses coming to the realization that they were going to need a website to stay relevant to their customers. So I learned to build websites for people and I built them for really really cheap. If you owned a legitimate web design business at that time, then I’m sorry because I was that guy that undercut all of your prices so severely that it didn’t matter how good you were, people came to me simply for the price. The secret? I didn’t care about the money. I cared about helping people who had businesses or hobbies that I liked.
- Fast forward a bunch more years. I met a new friend in Thailand who was passionate about freeing women from the hells and horrors of the sex industry. I listened to his pitch. I heard his passion. And I said to him, “I’ll leverage everything I can to help this. I really believe in you and believe in this.” I meant that. I went back home and talked to everyone who would listen. Finally, I put my own reputation on the line by sneaking him backstage at a massive conference and introduced him to an acquaintance who I knew could make some serious waves financially for my friend’s org. It wasn’t until months or years later that I heard through another friend that that introduction had actually helped my friend’s organization receive tens of thousands of dollars in donations in addition to many more relationships that have helped their mission.
The stories seem to go on. I don’t know what it is, but when I hear of my friends doing compelling things, I just want to jump in and help. I have not “monetized” any of this or made some business plan. I don’t lead a conference or a retreat on how to help businesses or hobbies grow. I just try to do stuff that I think will help. I think this is why I get so frustrated at all the chatter all over the place. If you’re into something, jump in and help out. Less talk. More do. I’ve never shared any of those 3 stories above with anyone. I’m tempted to delete them because now I’m feeling insecure like I’m tooting my own horn. If you only knew how much it’s not about that at all. It’s about trying to encourage us to jump in and actually try to do something good with people or projects that we care about.
Read this post quickly (because it may not stay online long) and share it if it resonates with you. I’d also love it if you left a comment telling me about how you’ve been able to help someone else’s dream come to life.
The more I stare at this post, the more likely I am to delete it because I feel that I’ve overshared.