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How to decline requests for professional help

professional meet up for a coffee

One answer: be empathetic.

It’s a privilege to have someone reach out to you in a professional capacity for advice, guidance or to share ideas. It shows that you’ve proven you’re an expert in something. They think they can learn something from you. Enjoy the feeling. Let it get to your head if you want but don’t let it end there.

LinkedIn message

No need to treat people like they’re a bother. In the photo above, my friend reached out to someone twice and that was the person’s response. A few weeks after the first message. If you’ve seen the message and know you’re going to have the decline to meet up, for example, don’t wait two weeks to send your reply. It’s unfair and unnecessary.

He wasn’t about to ask for a mentor as such. It was more of an idea sharing session that he wanted. That response would have been fine if it, say, went on to offer the name of someone else who might have been able to help my friend or asked him to write to her again in X number of months when she may be less busy. My friend made it clear exactly what he wanted to discuss with her but in a case where you’re unsure what someone wants to professionally meet up for, don’t be afraid to ask them to explain or specify. Let them know that should you manage to meet or mentor them, it will help you prepare useful answers for their questions. You can then use their reply to decide whether you want to accept their invitation.

One thing you mustn’t do in these circumstances is to say an outright no and leave someone with nothing but a shutdown. For a lot of people, it takes courage to reach out like this. At the very least, close off the message with some encouraging words and no, “all the best with your entrepreneurial activities” is not good enough.

Oh, and if it’s someone of the opposite sex reaching out to you on a site like LinkedIn as it was in this case, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the message is anything but professional. There are people who use LinkedIn as a dating site but I’m sure the majority of people are there to make career connections.

While this person owes my friend nothing, I still find it very disappointing. What do you think?

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Women supporting other women

Why we don’t do it enough and how to do it more often

If you’re a female, you’ve undoubtedly thought at least once that we’re our own worst enemies. You’ve wondered why another female has hated on you so hard when you’re sure you didn’t give them a reason to. Or maybe you’ve been that hating woman yourself. I’ve been in both situations and sometimes I haven’t caught myself hating quickly enough to stop. It takes a lot of self awareness and society and technology have made it so easy for women to bash each other. Look at social media. It’s too easy to become a keyboard thug! 

I can think of three reasons why we don’t support each other enough:

  • It’s most stark in the workplace but there seems to be the mentality that if we help to push another woman to success, we won’t achieve it ourselves. Especially if there is only one top spot. It may be true that there’s only one top spot but it’s the best person for the job who will get it. It’s that sense of a scarcity of good things. If she gets that one good thing, there’ll be nothing left for me.
  • The Judge Mentality – thinking we know another woman inside and out without taking the time to get to know them. Letting your prejudices get in the way means that you’re basing your knowledge on first impressions. People first present their most pleasant self to you and you don’t know what they’re struggling with. You don’t know their background story so you don’t get the chance to really view them as human beings with feelings and problems. 
  • Personal  also discourage us from supporting other women.  Busy lives and caring for other people can stop women from caring for themselves and most importantly dealing with their own mental and emotional issues. When we feel bad about ourselves, it’s hard to make others feel good about themselves. 

These are all things that we can work at internally because the reasons why we should support one another are endless.

1. Domino effect. Helping one woman in some significant way will inevitably inspire that woman to help another and so on.

2. No matter how little money you have, you can always dedicate your time to helping another woman. It’s free. Whether it’s by taking the time out to listen or by doing some research on solutions to someone’s problem, there are several non- monetary ways to offer support.

3. It’s good for your heart and therefore, your general health. Helping people can be a selfish act because it makes you feel good about yourself too. You get something out of it too!

4. Lending your support to other women and therefore getting to know them better will lead to forming strong bonds of friendship from the trust that is created. That kind of bond is usually long lasting and you create friends who are there for you in the most difficult times.

5. You get to learn from other women things that you would never know otherwise from living your life more selfishly. Everybody’s life is different and supporting others gives you the chance to learn about someone else’s life – the problems they have, the lessons they’ve learned, the things that make them happy, things that people they know have learned.

6. You’d be responding to your natural instincts. I’m sure there are exceptions (ha!) but generally, women are nurturers. We love to build other people up and while we tend to restrict that to our own homes and nurture our partners and children, it feels just as natural to nurture other women in your community. Give in to that instinct!

How? 

1. Feel free to promote other women even when they’re not around. Speak about their accomplishments to others and in groups. Share how awesome other women are and be intentional and specific about it, clearly explaining what they did and if possible, the effort they put into doing it. 

2. Women’s groups are good spaces to meet more women and make the effort to be supportive. While they do exist in a lot of communities and workplaces, they may exist more in name than anything else. Be the one to join a women’s group and push for it to be more functional to the women in the group and the women around it.


3. Be honest about yourself, about your own life. Don’t be afraid to tell other women about your struggles. Even if they’re struggles that you haven’t fully conquered yet. Go on. It doesn’t make you any less amazing in their eyes. Tell them. This may be the hardest thing for women to do but it’s probably also the most important because it makes you relatable and offers a practical guide to any women who might be trying to learn from you.

4. And in the same vein, offer yourself as a mentor and be willing to mentor women who ask you to be their mentor. Never think you don’t have enough to offer. You always have more life and/or career experience than you think. Don’t sell yourself short. Mentorship isn’t a 9-5 job either so don’t think you won’t have enough time. You will.

5. On the most basic level and in your daily life, be empathetic and speak encouraging words when talking with other women. Use affirming words as much as possible. Don’t assume they know how good they look today or how intelligent they are – say it out loud. Tell them.

I’m really speaking to myself here but it’s good for thought and if you find you’re not able to implement anything else immediately, you can at least be empathetic. I think that might lead to making you more conscious of how your actions and words could impact another female. 

Have you been in situations where you’ve caught yourself being non supportive to another woman or been treated in an unsupportive way by another woman? Did you manage to stop yourself before any damage was done? And if you were being treated badly, how did you react? 

Click below to share this with friends and family who can relate.

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Marriage with a newborn

Has having a newborn been tough on your relationship?

Having a newborn has been really tough on our relationship. With a tired recovering body and demanding newborn who refused to sleep in her cot for the most part, you tend to feel exhausted for those first three months. Breastfeeding makes you feel like your body is no longer yours and it takes some getting used to.
If you haven't dragged your other half to antenatal classes or had a serious chat about each others' expectations before they arrive, it can be a plethora of disagreements and surprises. Be it dummy, no dummy, Co sleeping, breastfeeding versus formula or just who is expected to do the dishes, I had many surprises and ended up arguing a lot with my partner. Then the jealousy kicked in that I wasn't working and despite me feeling exhausted, to him, it seemed like a holiday. I didn't feel like that at 3am trying to get a baby to sleep.

What advice would you give a first time mum who’s worried about her relationship making it through? Or do you think you don’t know the answer to that yet? 

I would say to do a few things that I didn't manage.
Sit down before baby arrives and talk through your expectations with each other includes household chores, finances, mat [maternity] leave, going back to work hours, and importantly, parenting styles.
At least this way, you can try to agree on some things before the baby is thrown into the mix. If this doesn't work, try to lean on whoever you can for support - siblings, parents, etc. to get you through those first few months.

Has having a newborn been tough on your relationship?

Having a newborn has been really tough on our relationship. With a tired recovering body and demanding newborn who refused to sleep in her cot for the most part, you tend to feel exhausted for those first three months. Breastfeeding makes you feel like your body is no longer yours and it takes some getting used to.
If you haven't dragged your other half to antenatal classes or had a serious chat about each others' expectations before they arrive, it can be a plethora of disagreements and surprises. Be it dummy, no dummy, Co sleeping, breastfeeding versus formula or just who is expected to do the dishes, I had many surprises and ended up arguing a lot with my partner. Then the jealousy kicked in that I wasn't working and despite me feeling exhausted, to him, it seemed like a holiday. I didn't feel like that at 3am trying to get a baby to sleep.

What advice would you give a first time mum who’s worried about her relationship making it through? Or do you think you don’t know the answer to that yet? 

I would say to do a few things that I didn't manage.
Sit down before baby arrives and talk through your expectations with each other includes household chores, finances, mat [maternity] leave, going back to work hours, and importantly, parenting styles.
At least this way, you can try to agree on some things before the baby is thrown into the mix. If this doesn't work, try to lean on whoever you can for support - siblings, parents, etc. to get you through those first few months.

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Posted on Leave a comment

What would I do without my wife

...

You’re crazy lol

Yeah yeah I know
I'm beginning to finally see it these days you know

Old age? Lol

I dunno about y’all but i'm young shoot

Till my dumb ole self goes to a clubby place instead of a lounge then I am like what the heck
Are these kids doing here

Abby I don’t get how guys date younger than them to be honest. My lil sister and her friends and that age group get on my last nerve

I mean if you are gonna have a purely sexual relationship with someone younger, I guess I can see the allure. But a proper relationship where you gotta talk to the person and do life with.
I don’t get it.
We be in two different planes. The things i'm thinking about someone 10 yrs younger isn’t thinking that.

Hahahaaa maybe it’s more a wisdom thing than an age thing. And maybe a tolerance level thing too lol

Must be. Old people are less tolerant.

What about lounges?

At least you can talk...and hear yourself think

Exactly
I dunno
I like smart women and lounges separates smarts from Air heads
Don’t care how physically appealing you may look
If you were dumb I lost interest quick

And in the lounge it becomes very apparent who falls into what bucket
In the club you too busy
These things end up falling through the cracks
Lol

Very true

Then you like why did I give him/her my number

But don’t you think you only see how smart some women really are when the tough things in life happen?

Like....it’s hard to be sure what they’re going to be like even if they seem intelligent in the lounge when you first meet them

Oooh yeah

At this point you still getting what they want to show you but they also giving off certain things away without them knowing.
Everyone is on their best behavior at this point
Then y’all become boyfriend girlfriend and hopefully some type of adversity hits so you can judge what type of boyfriend or girlfriend you have
Adversity shows character and mental fortitude

You said hopefully?! Lol!

Yeah
You won’t really see how a person is and the measure of how much they claim to love you until you are in a not so good spot

Loving someone is always easy when the circumstances are ideal
Almost anyone can do that
So I look at my parents now right
And one is sick
Their so called love is being tested

Words are easy to say
Similar to the words below:
“The Dream is free. The hustle to get the dream to be a reality is sold separately"
“I love you” is now cheap

Yeah for better or for worse. We never think of how bad that worse can be

Marriage is good don’t get me wrong but it’s hard

So damn hard

Sometimes I wake up and I am like “man I don’t know what I would do without [my wife]”
Other times I wake up and I am like, “ why the heck am I with her? She is getting on my last nerve”
That, sweetheart, is the reality
Hahahah
But this narrative does not fit the Cinderella happy ever after narrative
I told [my wife] I am not responsible for your happiness per se. That’s between you and God. But I, however, can not be responsible for your unhappiness

Hardest thing I did with my life [marriage]

Yeah it’s hard for us to remember that sometimes. Probably especially for women who are taught by storybooks to wait for their Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet and solve all their problems for them

But maybe part of it is you men’s fault too. Coz you’re generally problem solvers and you try to solve the problems of ppl you love. You can make women feel esp early on that that is what you’re there for

True

We do solve problems

...