Huckleberry Phyl

December 09, 2021

We ran a Peer Coaching Call (PCC) the other day that reminded me of a story about my friend Tom Sawyer.

You know the fence painting story, right?

The one where Tom is painting a fence and convinces his friends to not only help, but to pay Tom to paint the fence for him?

I always chuckle when I think about that story.

But I’ve come to realize that Tom was on to something. 

And that brings me back to the PCC we ran.

A longtime CG member, KC, who had been with a fintech startup and helped grow it (and sell it), recently got a new job. She used all the lessons from my forthcoming book, Never Search Alone and found a great new role for herself.


One of my final recommendations in the book – once you land a new job or promotion – is to put together a First 90 Days PCC with people working in similar jobs.

Since KC is a CG member we put that together for her and brought some great people together. They helped KC think about a range of things including how best to set expectations with her boss, how to be a fly on the wall in meetings with key internal partners (in addition to one-on-ones), and generally how to hit the ground running.

Now here’s the Tom Sawyer part.

One of the helpers on the call, Ben, told KC at the end that he had cut short a previous call to join her PCC and how glad he was that he did. This call was the highlight of his day.

In other words, he got tremendous joy helping KC “paint her fence.”

Charlee Riggio from CG, who was moderating the call, picked up on this Tom Sawyer-like comment and said to Ben: “You mean rather than saying, ‘Thank you for helping’, we should say, ‘You’re welcome!’?”

And you know what Ben said? 


When people ask for help they give a gift because it’s a joy to help especially when asked.

So, nowadays I still chuckle at Tom’s asking his friends to pay him to paint his fence, but I see that he understood something 100 years or so before the rest of us.

We humans do love helping each other. 

So, in this holiday season do like my friend Tom Sawyer…give the gift that keeps on giving: ask for help!


Huckleberry Phyl

P.S. I know I keep saying that the pre-order page for Never Search Alone is coming soon, and it is…just not as soon as I had hoped. I’ll email you when it’s finally up 😉

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About the Author

Phyl Terry

Phyl Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain, Inc., launched the company’s flagship leadership program – The Councils – in 2002 with a fellow group of Internet pioneers from Amazon, Google, and others. Thousands of leaders from the Internet world have come together in the last 15 years to learn the art of asking for help and to support each other to build better, more customer-centric products, services, and companies.

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