The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life


Everyone has their personal quirk–the one thing that they refuse to do because it goes against their character, against “who they are.”  My personal quirk is asking for help.  It’s an issue and I know it, and I am actively trying to change it.  Nevertheless, I always feel that I can do everything by myself.  What are teams for, anyways?  Other people only serve to disappoint, not follow directions, or do lackadaisical work.  The only person I can count on is myself… right?

Because I’m a business major, I hear the word “networking” thrown around a lot.  It’s gotten to a point where I cringe every time I hear the dreaded word, because networking involves interaction, and interaction involves giving another your time and trust, which may eventually lead to you (or them) asking for help.  That’s your network’s purpose: to serve as a pool of resources that you can call on when you need assistance starting a business, finding a job, or when you need the special skills and expertise of a more experienced person.  Which sounds great, but as my wonderful friend and roommate pointed out, dependency is weakness.

And then I thought about how this connects to writing.  If a writer simply wrote a draft by his/herself, revised it without getting any feedback from critique partners, then polished it without sending it to beta readers, and finally queried it with a letter that no one else has seen, he/she is sure to face rejection, simply because it’s impossible to catch mistakes, inconsistencies, and creative lapses without the help of others.  And then, the agent, the editor, the publicist… all of these people allow the author to succeed.  In short, there are certain things that simply cannot be done without a team.

I’m a member of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), and last week we did a group activity where five or six of us had to come up with a service project idea.  It was amazing how each group came up with such original, inventive ideas simply due to the combined efforts and brainpower of all its constituents.

A couple of days ago, I attended a business council meeting where the a major figure in the School of Business spoke about “leaders leading leaders.”  He spoke about how the dean often conferred with him and his team about new ideas, some of which were rejected.  And the dean accepted the critiques.  It was then that I realized the real importance of teamwork, of asking for help when needed, and welcoming others’ advice.  The willingness to do so has to originate internally.

Thus, I’m coming to terms with the idea of perceiving asking for help or needing help not as dependency or weakness, but as building a supportive team which mutually benefits each of its members.

What is/are your quirk(s)?


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