June 20, 2013

Just a few days after launching my new business, I received one of my first requests for mentoring.  A recent grad contacted me for help working with a complicated case. (Woohoo! I’m helping people. Officially.) Reaching out for help can feel very vulnerable; some practitioners feel like they are supposed to know it all. Asking for help can seem like admitting a fault.

In reality, seeking help is a great way to build your practice.

Although I had taught this student before, the course was mostly academic and it was several years ago.  Let’s face it; my memory is not that great! When we connected about the case, I was able to observe her clinical skills directly.

Her communication with me was clear, direct, friendly and professional. She had done her research and presented a detailed picture of the client and where she needed help. She knew that she did not know, and she was doing something about it.  We brainstormed together and came up with some options.

Two weeks went by.

I received an email from a colleague. She was hoping to find a practitioner to recommend for a local job opening. The recent grad above had come up as a possibility, and my colleague wanted to know if I thought she would be a good fit.

Because she had asked for help, I was able to give her a strong recommendation. I felt like I understood her clinical reasoning, trusted her to ask for help when she needed it. I felt confident that she was a friendly and empathetic presence in the consult room.

See?  Reaching out for help gives other a peek at your clinical style. The mere act of interacting – of reaching out to share your struggles and your strengths – is a way to grow closer to others and build your network.  When I know you better, I can recommend you to clients, practitioners and positions. The same is true of others in the field. So please, consider it good business practice to ask for assistance when you need it.

How about you? Have you ever recommended someone who you have already helped?

About Camille Freeman, DCN, RH (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and nutritionist specializing in fertility and menstrual health. I run the Monday Mentoring community of practice and also offer continuing education programs for practicing herbalists and nutritionists (Check out this year's Deep Dive!). I'm also a former professor with the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I taught physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating for 17 years. 

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