"You can't help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself."--H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Is it better to go it alone or navigate life with a support system of friends, colleagues and people in your community who care about you and what you do? Most people probably nod their heads and say, "Yes, of course; establishing a support system is important." But in practice, our tendency is to believe that operating alone shows resilience, strength and a stiff upper lip.
What constitutes a support system? It's a collection of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances who show a keen interest in listening, discussing and guiding - without judgment. "Without judgment" is key. You can't support and judge at the same time. It's not possible; if someone tells you it is, run the other way - fast!
What stops us from building a strong and vibrant network? Perhaps we want to show the world that we're strong and invincible. After all, we think, wouldn't asking for even occasional assistance give the perception that we're vulnerable? We fear these consequences - whether they're real or imagined. And this hurts us - personally and professionally. Yet cultivating a healthy support network nets many benefits: -
Sound impossible? It's not. Start by thinking through the following questions and you'll have a good sense of how to build a network that fits your lifestyle:
Imagine receiving an abundance of support. Imagine it at home, at work and anywhere else that's important to you. Imagine knowing there's a safety net beneath you at all times - people prepared to catch you if you fall and ready to celebrate you succeed.
Most importantly, remember that life is not a solo act. We're meant to be interdependent, to connect with others, to form communities of like-minded people.
So get out there! Weave a strong, healthy support network and watch yourself grow and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.