About a year ago, the image of the “pick their brain” mug erupted and Black Twitter went crazy.
At that time, I decided to keep my mouth shut, but recently, this topic has come up again and I cannot stay quiet.
The truth is: I wouldn’t be where I am today if someone didn’t let me “pick their brain”
Before I left my last 9-5, I was a General Manager for a student housing company and didn’t get to that point solely because of my experience and skills. As someone that’s young, BLACK, and female, it was rare that I saw people that looked like me in leadership roles at my company and when I did find someone, I didn’t hesitate to ask to pick their brain.
I knew that in order for me to move up within my company, I needed more than just a degree and the experience.
Being able to learn exactly how the leaders in my organization were moving and how they got to the career level they were at was crucial to my professional development – and I knew that.
Because the idea of “picking your brain” has become taboo – in the beginning I was too scared to ask. However, once I got over my fear and ignored what others were saying, I would approach different leaders at my company to guess what – pick their brain.
When I would do this, can you guess what would happen next?
These leaders would actually take time out for me to ask questions and to “pick their brain.”
Fast forward to my current state as an early-stage founder and CEO, I truly wouldn’t be where I’m at now if it wasn’t for someone letting me pick their brain.
After I launched my business, I struggled with marketing which in return was heavily impacting my user growth. Meanwhile, I knew of a friend (well technically we were just Twitter friends) who appeared to be the king in marketing when it came down to his business. While I didn’t know this person well, I knew that learning from him could positively impact my business.
Upon finding his email address online and sending a cold email (remember we were only Twitter friends), Twitter friend responded and the following week spent some time to answer my questions and gave me advice.
From these experiences, I’ve learned that there are several people in positions of power that actually want to share their knowledge in order to help the next person. For many of these leaders, they didn’t get to where they are without the help and mentorship from someone else, so giving back is like second nature to them.
As a community, I can’t help but think how much higher we all could go in our careers and business endeavors if we had that same energy like Twitter friend and like the leaders at my 9-5.
If a person reaches out in a professional and genuine manner, and if you have the time, what harm will it do to share some gems with them?
Keep in mind, letting someone pick your brain can simply look like hopping on a quick 15-minute call, responding to an email, or a DM. It doesn’t mean you’re spending hours or days coaching someone; it’s simply a way to pay it forward (just like someone probably has done for you in your career).
How have you benefited from someone letting you pick their brain?