I was leading my weekly team call on Zoom last night with a bunch of my Summit Coaching clients and friends. The topic for the call was "The Importance of Building a Support System". We had a robust talk about it so I thought I would turn it into a blog post and try to extend the message to a few more people.
A good support system is critical for just about anything we are trying to tackle in life. You've heard the saying "It takes a village". I believe that applies to way more than just raising a family. Whether you are an entrepreneur, employee, mom, dad, brother or sister, life will be better for you if you have your PEOPLE - the group that you reach out to when the shit hits the proverbial fan.
During our call tonight I outlined five different ways that having a good support system can benefit you.
1. Emotional Support:
A support system provides a network of friends, family, or colleagues who can offer emotional support during challenging times.They provide a safe space for you to express your feelings, thoughts, and concerns, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Have a shitty day? It's nice to have someone that'll just listen - not necessarily try to fix.
2. Stress Reduction:
This is a big one for me. Stress can be a killer. A strong support system can help you manage and reduce stress. By sharing your burdens with supportive individuals, you can alleviate the emotional weight of stressful situations.
3. Enhanced Resilience:
One day at a time right? Supportive relationships can increase your resilience in the face of adversity. When you face setbacks or obstacles, a support system can bolster your confidence and help you bounce back more effectively. And remember, it's not how many times you fall down, it's how many times you get back up that matters.
4. Problem Solving:
Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. Your support system can offer diverse perspectives and solutions to problems you encounter. They can act as a sounding board for ideas, provide guidance, and offer valuable insights to help you make informed decisions. Having a variety of people you can consult can make all the difference.
5. Professional Growth: A support system within your professional network can lead to career opportunities and development. Mentors, colleagues, and industry connections can offer guidance, introduce you to relevant opportunities, and help you advance in your career. Opportunity comes in strange packaging sometimes. Having the right people in your corner can expose you to some things that you might otherwise miss out on.
A strong support system not only enhances your emotional well-being but also contributes to your resilience, problem-solving abilities, and professional growth. It is an invaluable resource for navigating life's challenges and pursuing your goals.
OK, now that we know what a strong support system can do for us, let's talk about a few ways to build our own. Here are some things to consider when putting together YOUR support system. I call them "The Seven G's"
1. Goals. It always comes back to goals with me doesn't it? lol. But seriously, without a clearly defined set of goals, how can you put together an effective support system? So let's make sure those goals are specific, measurable and time-bound. Getting super clear on your goals will help you assemble the right support system.
2. Gravitate. Move toward people that share your vision. Surrounding yourself with like minded people who understand your journey is key. On a professional level this might mean joining a networking group, attending events or leveraging online platforms to meet like-minded individuals. I always say that you are what you surround yourself with. This definitely comes into play when putting together your support system.
3. Give and Take. It's been said that there are givers and takers in this world. The takers eat better but the givers SLEEP better. Be a giver. It's amazing what a little reciprocity will do for you. I believe that we tend to get back what we push out. Try it and see. Offering support to others can strengthen your own network.
4. Be Generous. Coach John Wooden said "You can't truly have a great day until you have done something for someone else without expectation of something in return". Offer your expertise. Support others. Pure and simple generosity can have a positive impact on building your support system.
5. Genuine Connections. It's important that these relationships are authentic. One of the ways to ensure that there is authenticity in the relationship is through transparency and vulnerability. We can't help one another if we don't know what the whole deal is. That's why it's important to have trust and know that when you share something with someone in your support system it stays between the two of you. Through active listening and staying engaged, you can build some genuine relationships that will serve you well.
6. Growth Mindset. This is a non-negotiable. People in your support system need to have a growth mindset, as do you. This will help discussions stay on the positive side. You want people in your circle that will call you on your shit. I have people that say to me "well, that's just sounds like a bunch of excuses, let's talk about what the real issue is". When you have people like that in your life, you are automatically held to a higher standard. As I mentioned before, it is hard to do this thing called life by yourself. Get your people, vocalize your issues and lean in. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel. Seek out opportunities for growth, whether it be industry events, personal development outings, or just plain being around people who are in a growth mode. We are never done.
7. Gratitude. It's important to regularly acknowledge the people that help you. Be grateful. Show appreciation. It's not hard and it goes a long way. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. Just something simple. Things that I regularly say are "I appreciate you", "Thanks for the effort", "Thanks for all that you do". And the toughest one... "I LOVE YOU". I tell my best friends that all the time and (shocker) no one comes and collects my man card afterward either.
So there you have it. As I mentioned, we had a good talk about this stuff and everyone was able to chime in on what their own support system looks like and where it needs work. Audit your own support system. Write down who these people are and what they bring to the table. Are they adding to the equation or taking away? Both are fine, but on the path of personal development we need to make sure that we have a group of people we can lean on that we know will be there through the good times and the bad. Don't be afraid to make adjustments, I'm not saying write people out of your life. I'm just saying that it helps to take a look at who you are spending the most time with and what you are both getting out of it.
Lastly, we are the givers, right? So ask yourself this. Who's support system AM I a part of? If you can't answer that question then get busy investing in others and watch what happens.
And don't let me catch you just being a taker. 😉 Build your group, your PEOPLE, your tribe. It's healthy, we need it.
We can't do this alone.
Be the example.