Sometimes you need a who, A what, no – a who, oh ok 

It always surprises me when I meet a novice or someone who is new to a field or new to a role and they are embarrassed to ask for help. Even worse is when they are afraid that receiving feedback and being less than perfect is a sign of failure or ineptness. I always just want to say, hey let’s go grab a coffee and talk. And in that talk, I would explain to them that when you are new at something it is unrealistic to expect to know how to do the work, the task, etc. without help or in a perfect way and to think otherwise is putting so much pressure on themselves that I can’t understand how they cope.  

When you are first starting an endeavor, you often need a who. No, not a what – a who. As John Strelecky wrote in his book “The Why Café” we often need a Who, a person who already has the skills and knowledge in an area to help us, if we want to become competent in a new endeavor. But here’s the thing, the same person who will get scuba lessons, take pilot lessons, go to a music teacher, etc. Is the same one that will take a new role in their work career and decide that they need to figure it out on their own because if they don’t folks will think they are not capable or that they are a failure.  

So here is my advice. As a novice or someone who is new to a field or a role, it is perfectly normal to not know everything and need help. In fact, it is crucial to seek guidance and feedback, especially at the beginning of a new endeavor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek out a “who” – someone who already has the skills and knowledge in the area that you want to become competent in. It is important to recognize that expecting perfection without guidance is unrealistic and can put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself. You may find yourself struggling to cope with the expectations that you have set for yourself. Just like how you wouldn’t try scuba diving without lessons or attempt to fly a plane without first taking pilot lessons, you should not expect to know everything and be able to succeed in a new role or field without seeking help. It is okay to ask questions and learn from others who have more experience. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of failure or ineptness. In fact, seeking feedback and guidance from those with more experience can help you learn and improve much faster than if you were to go at it alone. Don’t let the fear of appearing incompetent prevent you from seeking the help you need to succeed.  

So, go ahead and ask for that coffee meeting with a more experienced colleague or mentor. You might be surprised at how much you can learn and grow from the experience. #seekcoaching, #becoachable 

About mclaukl

Professional Certifications - Certified CISO, CISM, CISSP, PMP, ITIL Master Certified, GIAC Security Leadership Certificate (GSLC), CRISC. Kevin also holds Certificates in the Advanced Principles of Information Security and in Advanced Information Security Research Methods from Jones International University. Kevin L. McLaughlin began his career as a Special Agent for the Department of Army. He was responsible for investigating Felony crimes around the globe. He has had many careers over the years, including being a Police Officer in Kissimmee Florida, an Investigator for Mastercard/Visa, a Middle School teacher, a Director at Kennedy Space Center (where he worked with Fred Hayes, James Lovell, Armstrong, Sheppard, etc.), the President of his own company, an IT Manager and Senior Information Security manager with the Procter & Gamble (P&G) company (fortune 35), a CISO at the University of Cincinnati and a Senior Information System Security Manager for the Whirlpool Corporation (fortune 125). Kevin has also been an adjunct since 1992. While at P&G Kevin created one of P&G’s augmentation outsourcing teams in India. Kevin designed and implemented this India team and it won a global Gold Service award from Atos-Origin and has acted as a model for countless corporate relationships since. Over the years Kevin has: created an Information Security program conducted Information Security Strategic planning designed Information Security solutions, investigated over 700 Cyber cases and operated a Global Security Operations Center. • Education - MS in Computer Science Education, BS in Management of Information Systems * PhD in Cyber Security, University of Fairfax
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