This may seem like a simple thing, and in fact, it is. However, very few of us ever remember to ask for a reference and only do so when we have need of one which is usually months or even years after the fact.
Suppose you have just done business with a client and during the process, the client has thanked you several times for your efforts and expressed to you what a good job you have done for them. This is the best time to ask for that reference. Just thank them and ask, “could you please put that in writing?”
People, in general, will love to write you a reference. A mentor of mine taught me this in my twenties and it has served me very well over the years. I have in excess of 30 written references. Some of these are from Presidents and Directors of companies, Government Deputy Ministers, Information Systems Directors, sales people, re-sellers and I even have some from employees and staff that I have worked with in the past which are among my most treasured references.
For me, these references serve two distinct purposes. Most obviously, it’s great to be able to hand a copy of a written reference to a prospective client or employer. Less obvious is what I call my “I Love Me” file. Let me explain.
All of us go through slumps and when we do, it’s very easy to get down on oneself. It’s easy to begin to question your worth and your ability. If that happens to you, take your “I Love Me” file and find a nice quiet room and sit on the floor. Place all of your references around you and then spend some time looking at each one. You are now surrounded by positive commentary about YOU. As you consider each one, you will remember all of your successes and get your mind off of your current slump. You will remember just how capable you are and be reminded of your potential. You will also smile remembering the writers and the relationships you built with them. You might even pick up the phone and call a few of them or send them an e-mail. Who knows what doors that might open.
Give it a try!
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