“What do I do when I don’t have a good, healthy support system?”
After my last email about “Who’s got your back?”, I heard from several people asking me how to build a healthy support system.
Keep in mind that the common experience of most happy, fulfilled and successful people is having the support of others along their journey.
For those who tough it out alone, life can be tumultuous and unnecessarily stressful. The paradox is that many of us choose to go it alone when facing challenges, not realizing that connection ultimately moves us through the pain.
Suffering through a holiday alone, dealing with a difficult diagnosis, making a complicated business decision, or experiencing any of life’s setbacks can be mitigated when we access the members of our team that we know have our backs. If our team or community is not in place we must work to cultivate a support system.
Some tips and strategies:
“What do I need to do to put a community of good people together into my life?”
- Think about the time you were doing your best. Who did you have around you then? Was it family, friends, colleagues? Perhaps you had a doctor you relied upon, a colleague, a therapist, a religious community…
- Reaching out for help from others takes courage but ultimately helps us attain our goals more quickly and certainly makes the ride more fun. We need each other to thrive – physically, emotionally and professionally—throughout the life cycle.
- If you reach out to someone and they aren’t particularly responsive, don’t personalize. Everyone is doing the best they can. Move on and dare to reach out to someone else in your life space.
- Some ideas for meeting other like minded souls might be to volunteer, take classes (dance, exercise, art, history, travel), join book clubs, parent groups, Women in Business, Toastmasters, Guilds, a religious organization, Chamber of Commerce, etc. My recommendation is that whatever you sign up for is something that truly captures your interest. Then whoever you meet will be sharing something meaningful with you.
- Making friends and building your support team is like courting—it takes time and shared experiences to get to know and trust each other. Reach out to those you think you’d like to connect with. It’s amazing how just talking to someone can lift your spirits and ease the impact of the challenges that you face.
- Creating a reserve of support is a great way to enhance your relationships. If possible, expand your network of friends beyond just one or two. Our hearts have a remarkable capacity to hold many others at once. In that way, it’s likely that someone will be there when you are in need.
- When people offer their help, say, “YES!” Allow them the privilege of supporting you. Reach out to others in your community who you know already have good support network. Ask them about how they created their “posse.” What were their strategies? The more committed you are to building your tribe, the more others will want to engage and assist you.
- Equally important to creating relationships with others is honoring your relationship with yourself–carving out time every day, if only for an hour, to nurture yourself. Self-care helps to rejuvenate, adding sparkle to your life, making you less needy and giving you the vitality you need to risk reaching out to others.
- Become accountable to others while building your support system. Letting others know what you are creating is a catalyst for success.
- If everyday you move the needle forward by taking one action—making one phone call or one plan for the week ahead—you’ll be on your way to building your community. Every member of your team matters and needs to be treated accordingly. The dividends have huge implications, leading to a happier, more vibrant and meaningful life.
I’d love to know your thoughts about creating your own support system.