You’re probably stuck somewhere. It may be in your business, relationship, health, or finances. You’re only getting older, and time is ticking.
It’s time to do something about it!
Everyone gets stuck. I do too. I use lifelines all the time to get unstuck. In this post I talk about:
- What are lifelines
- Why you should use your lifelines
- What lifelines are available to you (it’s not quite what you think)
- How you can use your lifelines to improve your business, relationships, finances, and many other aspects of your life.
In the game of life, no one will feel sorry for you. Every decision you make, whether good or bad, is on you. Some of these decisions will be poor and that’s normal. Heck, I’ve made a ton of them.
The best part of the game of LIFE? You have unlimited lifelines to help you along the way.
However, lifelines are completely useless if you don’t use them. Don’t use your lifelines, and you’ll remain stuck right where you are.
In the game of life, you MUST learn to use your lifelines. You are the director and the producer.
What are lifelines?
If you’re familiar with the classic TV game show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,” you already know all about how lifelines work. For those of you who have never seen the show, contestants answer a series of questions for the chance to win up to 1 million dollars.
The questions are multiple-choice and cover a wide variety of topics. It shouldn’t surprise you that the contestants on this show don’t usually have all the answers. It’s just too much information for one person to know. So, the show allows each contestant 3 to 4 lifelines: resources they can reach out to for help when a question is beyond their knowledge.
Just like “Millionaire,” lifelines are available to all of us in the real world when we don’t have the answers. However, in the game, each person only receives a few. In real life, we each have unlimited lifelines and unlimited opportunities to learn and grow!
Anyone can use a lifeline to get what they need. However, in order to use a lifeline effectively you have to be willing to do a few things:
- Be vulnerable – Set your ego aside. Nobody likes asking for help, but we all have to do it at some point. Opening yourself up like that can be scary, but it’s the only way to grow.
- Be specific – No one is going to be able to help you if you don’t know exactly what you want. Whether it’s google or a family friend, be really clear about what you need.
- Be willing to take action – Whatever you find out is the next step, you’ve got to be ready to jump on it!
- Be willing to get rejected – Any amount of vulnerability necessitates the possibility of rejection. It’s normal to be afraid, but it’s necessary to rise above it!
- Be willing to test– If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! Use as many lifelines as you need to in order to get unstuck.
I’ve been there
Many years ago I couldn’t afford to pay $5-10k to have a professional production company create a 2-minute video for my business. It’s still quite expensive!
However, I didn’t despair. I used my lifelines, cold emailed several local colleges with film programs, and was able to get some students to create the video for the cost of a couple of lunches.
Super embarrassing looking at it, now but here it is:
Phone a friend or two
In business and in life, it’s all about who you know. If you don’t know someone right now with the answer you need, that’s OK! There are plenty of ways for you to bring those people into your network.
Here are some lifelines you already have immediate access to:
- Mentors – The people you look up to, who help you to become the best person you can be, are a great place to start if you’ve got a question.
- Teachers – Even if you’re not currently their student, chances are your former teachers are more than happy to help.
- Friends – As the saying goes, “That’s what friends are for!” You ask your friends with help moving, putting together furniture, and chances are you ask them for advice when you don’t know what to do.
- Family – You never stop learning from your parents, grandparents, and the adults in your life who raised you from childhood. Chances are, any of them would be more than happy to help you.
- Your friend/family’s network – You already know the same people. Why not learn from one another?
- Therapists – Particularly when it comes to personal development, therapists are a wealth of knowledge about why you are the way you are, and how you can be the best human you can be.
- Colleagues – Even if you’re at the top of the pyramid, your employees probably know things you don’t! I learn new things from my employees all the time.
- Internal Advisory Board – This is a group of people selected by you to advise you about your business, your blog, your life, anything! It can be an informal board, or your friends on a quarterly zoom call where you talk about your wins, losses, lessons, roadblocks, and seek counsel.
- Your social media posts – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram…
- Cold email outreach – Do your homework and hunt down the email address of a person who may have the answer. Flatter them, give them value first, and then go for your ask
- Slide into their DMs – If you can find them on social, you can usually send them a direct message even if they aren’t connected with you.
- Knock on doors – Old school and some don’t like it but what’s the worst thing that can happen?
- Stand outside with a sign – I’m not kidding. When a hardball is required, this can be an effective way to get their attention. Homeless people have a sign outside. That’s a lifeline. Why? They have a need, a desire and they are asking for help.
You don’t need to be homeless to do this. The media may pick you up and help you with this as they did with this man in Louisville, KY.
Ask the audience
Sometimes you need a lot of different perspectives to find the answer you need. There are a million ways to get that crowdsourcing effect quickly and easily.
- Google – You’ve likely heard of this one before, but it really is so useful when you have a specific question.
- Masterminds – Some great ones are Chicago Business Journal Leadership Trust, YEC, EO, and Trends.
- Networking – What better way to get a variety of perspectives than to put yourself in a room (or a Zoom) with dozens of different people?
- Online forums – If you’ve got a question, chances are there’s an online forum out there with the answers.
- Facebook groups – For every area of interest, there’s a Facebook group with people who want to talk about it.
- Reddit – Reddit has a reputation, but it also has a wealth of knowledge on every topic under the sun. They also have groups for every area…add some more text here
- Linkedin Groups – If your question is a business one, LinkedIn can be a better place to go for crowdsourced answers.
- Clarity.fm – This website matches entrepreneurs up with experts in their field to help advise them on getting their startup up and running!
- GoFundMe – This crowdfunding platform has helped raise over 9 billion dollars for causes around the world. They can help you too!
- Conferences – If you attend a conference for an area you’re interested in, chances are you’re going to be surrounded by people with a common interest, all willing to share their knowledge with you.
- Quora – Quora is a site built on the idea that if you have a question, chances are someone else has the exact same one. Simply type in a question to see responses from hundreds of people just like you.
- Your college alumni department – Your alumni network is one of the most powerful tools available to you. Use it!
- Fiverr – Have a specific project that’s just outside your wheelhouse? No matter what type of freelancer you need, Fiverr has the perfect one for you at an affordable price.
- Upwork – Upwork is another great place to find the people you need for projects that you either aren’t equipped for, don’t have time for, or simply don’t want to do!
- Email Signature – Add your ask in the footer of your email signature
Ask the expert
When you really need an expert opinion, sometimes asking within your network isn’t enough. Here are some great expert lifelines:
- Podcasts – If you’re more of an auditory learner, podcasts are a great way to learn more about your favorite topics wherever you are.
- Blogs – You probably already know this one since you’re reading this blog, but blogs are a great source of expert information! While not all blogs are created equal, when done right they are a straight shot to the creator’s knowledge base.
- Journals and Magazines – Periodicals are a great way to stay up to date on the current trends and news in your area of interest. These publications also tend to do the vetting for you when it comes to the authenticity of the writer.
- Books – As media continues to evolve, there’s still nothing quite like a real book in your hands for ease of access to the knowledge you need.
- Library – Libraries are full of nearly every book out there on every subject, there’s one in most neighborhoods, and it’s a completely free resource. Enough said.
- Community College – Don’t tell anybody I told you this, but most community colleges won’t check to see if you’re registered as a student before letting you use their free resources. All you have to do is ask!
- Open Office Hours – Noah Kagan, an 8 figure earner and founder of AppSumo, has weekly office hours on his Youtube channel where he provides advice for free. I’m sure that there are other entrepreneurs who do this as well.
- Superpeer – This is a platform where experts in almost every field share their know-how via remote one-on-one video calls. Get an expert opinion without even leaving the couch!
- Online Courses – This is the future of education. Especially with social distancing, online courses are a more attractive option for a lot of people.
- My Toolkit – I’ve got so many resources to share with you, I wrote a blog post about it. Here are the tools I use every day.
Stop having regrets. You don’t have time for regrets.
Those who use lifelines will see growth.
Everyone has unlimited lifelines, you just have to be willing to ask. The world is full of people, organizations, and resources ready and willing to help you. Your lifelines are limited by your willingness to seek them out.
Set your ego aside. Start using your lifelines today. Those who don’t speak don’t get fed. The world belongs to the askers. So ask.
Where are you stuck? Please comment and share. Maybe someone reading this will see your comment and reach out to help. Maybe I have the answer.