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To Thrive and Prosper, Create Healthy Support Systems

We all want to be strong and capable and achieve our goals. And we like to think that we can and should do this on our own. After all it is not easy to ask for help. We worry that people will think we are weak if we ask for help. But what we forget is that as humans we are social creatures who thrive on connections with others. We are stronger and more resilient when we have strong connections and networks – a support system.

Support comes in many forms. It can be emotional, logistical, health-related, financial, or organizational. If we are to thrive and succeed, it is imperative we take account of the types of support we need, and put the right structures in place.

Assess the Situation:

  • Consider past successes. Take inventory of the times you were successful. What support did you have then? Who helped you most? What additional support could you have had that would have been helpful.

  • Examine past failures. What support did you need, but not have? Are there people or tools to help now? Set about building proper support systems now, so you’ll avoid repeating your mistakes.

  • Project yourself into the future. Consider what you want to accomplish. What are your challenges? How can you address and overcome them? Who can give you the needed support?

Now that you have completed this assessment – what next?

Build and strengthen your support network.

  • Are there people in your life you can call on for support? Make a list of people who have been supportive. Think about how you can strengthen your connection with them. If you have lost contact with them, can you reconnect by sending them a handwritten note, or inviting them to coffee?

  • If you have people in your life that are supportive, how do you grow and maintain that relationship? Find ways to stay connected with them, especially when you don’t need their support. Perhaps you could plan a regular time to meet – monthly or quarterly. Remember to be respectful of their time.

  • Think about how you can add value to them. You should not only reach out to this circle of support when you need help, you should always be looking for ways to help them. This is not a one-sided relationship.

Look for existing networking groups.

  • If you are looking for specific expertise you may want to look at finding an existing group of people who are focused on the specific support that you need, for example, there are groups focused on developing public speaking skills, building marketing skills, or dealing with a difficult medical diagnosis. These groups can provide not only support but expertise too and you will meet a whole new group of people.

Find a mentor.

  • The right mentor is a vital component of your support system. He or she will have the experience to see hidden potholes on the road ahead. A great mentor won’t only help you with your challenges, but help you avoid them in the first place.

Use other support systems.

  • It’s not just people that provide support. Planning and organizational tools also provide support. Your alarm gets you out of bed on time. You can use your smart phone to set up reminders and prompts to keep you on track throughout the day. What other tools do you need to thrive?

Reach out to those already in your life. Most people you know will be thrilled to support you, and give you their time and expertise. Ask for the help you need. And offer your help!

The more support you have, the bigger the goals you’ll accomplish. There is no reason to face the world on your own.

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