If only she could see what I see.
We don’t know each other. But even a quick scan made it clear that she’s highly-skilled, has done interesting and relevant work in a company I admire, and is in a location I enjoy visiting and working in.
Her first email to me was lovely and generous. She had been following me and wrote to offer support and assistance - for free - just because she believes in what I'm doing.
Yet she almost didn’t send that message.
“I just finished part 1 of your book which provided me with the courage to reach out to you.”
I re-read that line several times. "The courage to reach out." It struck me that she has so much to contribute and was offering it in such a nice way, and yet she felt constrained, held back by a fear of some kind. I thanked her and shared what I was thinking.
“I'm thrilled that you took the time to write your note which was both kind and generous. Isn't it fascinating that we hold back even when we have such gifts to offer? If we could change that mindset and unlock more such gifts, the world and workplace would be better for everyone.”
We continued our email exchange (she’s also witty and a good writer), and I look forward to speaking with her about her work and to ask for her ideas and opinions about mine. Given her experience, I can easily imagine a wide range of collaboration opportunities.
What about you? Is there something holding you back from reaching out to someone? Something preventing you from making the contributions and connections you want to make?
There are so many people who could benefit from all you have to offer. Developing the courage to share it just takes practice.