Last week I shared this story with a friend and she encouraged me to share it with my blog readers – so I hope it brings a smile to your face too!
I’m a bit of a Twitter “helper”. If I see somebody on Twitter asking for advice, a connection or help finding something, then I can’t help myself – I’ll jump right in and try to assist.
A couple of months ago I spotted two different people Tweeting with a request for anybody who had copies of recent local newspapers they could give away to them. Presumably the newspapers contained articles that were important to the individuals concerned. As I happened to have those papers sat around waiting for little else but recycling, I duly Tweeted back that I’d be happy to help them, and after getting their address, posted the newspapers off to the two individuals concerned.
Helping others can be thank-less
Weeks later I happened to be in conversation with a colleague about the nature of helping others. He was bemoaning the fact that he’d done favours for some individuals that they’d never return, nor in some cases even take time to say thank-you for.
I was about to interrupt him when I remembered the newspapers I’d sent off and realised that I’d never received a note of thanks from the individuals concerned either. I shared this with him and his reaction was, of course – “See, some people are just selfish”. I murmured a disappointed agreement , but added that I’d not let this thought stop me from helping the next person I could, as for every one person who didn’t say thank-you, I reckoned there would be ten that would.
Now comes the part of the story that made me smile!
PC Pro Magazine
I’ll preface it by saying that I’ve been a fan of the Tech magazine PC Pro for as long as I’ve been in the IT industry. I’ve been reading the magazine for around 15 years, and have never missed an issue. That is until the April edition, issue 200, which didn’t drop through my letterbox as expected.
I duly contacted the PC Pro Subscription Helpdesk, who informed me that there had been a problem with my subscription renewal, and that unfortunately, all stock of issue 200 had been used. There were no spare copies to send to me to maintain my unblemished collection.
Disappointing, but mistakes happen – and I duly nipped off to the local newsagent to see if I could find a copy to buy off the shelf. No luck, neither my local newsagent or the large WH Smiths in town had a copy. Everywhere was sold out. Sigh…
Then I remembered the advice I regularly give to newcomers to Twitter who are trying to engage with others and build a following. I always tell them to try to help others, but also to ask for help. It’s human nature that people want to help one another, and in the words of one of my favourite authors – Bob Burg of the “Go-Giver” – The Law of Receptivity is that the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
So I tweeted that I was looking for a copy of PC Pro Issue 200, if anyone could spare a copy.
Step in Barry Collins
Minutes later, Barry Collins, the Editor of PC Pro magazine reached out to me via Twitter to say that if I sent him my address – he’d be happy to send me a spare copy!
Shortly after, issue 200 of PC Pro landed on my door-mat. I’m a very happy Geek!
Thank-you Barry – and congratulations to PC Pro magazine on 200 issues of great content!
The Cheeky Follow-Up
There’s a small addition to this story that I’ll share with you too. It’s one of my professional ambitions to have an article published by PC Pro magazine. I therefore (admittedly cheekily!) took the opportunity to ask Barry any advice he might offer for me to achieve this goal, and he happily offered his advice too. Bonus!
Now, I’m not a believer in “Karma”, and I don’t subscribe to the adage that “What goes around, comes around”. But what I do believe is that by conducting yourself in a giving manner on a consistent basis, you will draw like minded people to yourself.
To me, that’s why it’s important not to be discouraged by those you help who don’t appear to be grateful. Nor is it wise to “keep score” on favours done. Shrug your shoulders and realise that the next person you help, or indeed that helps you, will very likely share your philosophy – and that the world isn’t such a bad place on a Tuesday morning after all!