Several weekend mornings in the fall and spring, you can find me on the side of a race course with a poster, cowbells and a thermos of coffee. I high-five countless runners and walkers, I cheer them on until my throat is raw.
Something happens when runners see me cheering. They speed up. They smile. They get out of their own heads. Even though they don’t know me and I don’t know them, we high five and share a moment. I tell them “You’ve got this!” and they thank me for being there.
When we’re there for others, we foster an environment of meaningful connections. People frequently ask why I started my business Hello And High Five, greeting cards for your fitness friends. The simple answer? To support others. But there’s been a great benefit to me and my business as well, one that wasn’t my original intent. People support me back.
I can speak to the power of receiving a "high five" from another business owner. Early on in my business, I knew I wanted to create a community of female athletes who supported each other through snail mail. I knew I wanted some brand ambassadors, so I created a plan and asked the Internet for help.
My friend Megan Robertson, of Iowa City's Muddy Feet Yoga reached out to apply right away. She led with a "high five," complimenting my brand and inquiring about the brand ambassador application. Fast forward a year, and we continue to support each other in our businesses, from cards to partner blog posts, and as we both grow I know there will continue to be opportunities.
When others in your professional circles support you and your business, you want to support them too. And when people are cheering you on, doesn’t it motivate you to “speed up” in achieving your goals?
What would happen if we were more intentional about recognizing when people around us are struggling? Or people around us are absolutely killing it? What if we created cheer corners in our professional lives?
Here are a few things that help me support others in my professional life:
What I know to be true is that the compulsion to compete is a choice. When we view our sisters in business as rivals, it sucks the fun out of what each of us is accomplishing on her journey. Plus, it limits our ability to learn from shared experiences. Get in touch with someone who has the thing you wish you had, lift her up and learn from her.
I get real, because it helps people relate to you. My health journey has challenged me in the last year, but it’s opened up an opportunity to be candid on my social media channels. People don’t know how to cheer for you if you don’t tell them.
I send handwritten notes. I’m a big fan of greeting cards, or as I like to call them, “snail mail high fives.” Writing them is an easy way to practice gratitude and acknowledge that you’re paying attention to the things going on in the lives of others. And receiving an unexpected note in the mailbox makes my day. It doesn’t take much, just a line or two.
What happens when we prioritize supporting colleagues, fellow businesswomen, vendors and clients? We build a connection that goes deeper than handshakes and small talk. We build authentic networks of women who can become our business partners, mentors, friends and an endless source of high fives.
Claire is the founder and designer of Hello And High Five, greeting cards for your fitness friends. She lives with a life-threatening metabolic disorder, which shapes her perspective on fitness, business and mental health. She believes in the power of greeting cards to project positivity and gratitude into the world. Claire is a graphic designer, a runner, an RRCA-certified adult running coach and a FemCity Des Moines business member.