Where you find that help is critical to your success so I want to share with you five groups of people that successful people look to for support.
“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” – Charles “Tremendous” Jones
Group #1 – Family
Family support is important in our lives. We want to be loved and supported by those we care about. When you’re working on a career change, a diet and exercise program, or a lifestyle change, having your family’s support is ideal. They’ve seen us at our best and our worst and love us in spite of ourselves.
Family can be one of our greatest resources. Try to find family members who have done what you’re trying to do and ask for their advice and counsel. You’ll be surprised at how willing they are to share and help you.
Unfortunately, some family members can actually harm our progress. Let me explain.
If you’ve ever watched the television show “The Biggest Loser,” you’ll notice that they often have family members competing on the show together. Why? Because they got fat together. They encouraged each other to move down a dangerous road and used the negative effects of peer pressure and acceptance to end up where they are.
Often, when you go to make a change for the positive, there will be family members who will work against you. It’s not because they don’t like you or want the best for you (though, occasionally that’s the case). It’s that your upward movement shines a light on their unwillingness to change. There’s an entire post in the psychology behind this. So, suffice it to say, you need to be aware of positive family members as opposed to toxic family members.
This doesn’t mean that you necessarily cut the person from your life. Instead, you need to prepare yourself for negative feedback and criticism and push ahead in spite of it. Create healthy boundaries and let them know that you’d like their support but that you’re making a change whether they approve or not. And then be prepared to limit contact at times.
By the way, if you’re married, spouses are handled differently. But that’s a post for a different time.
Group #2 – Friends
See “Support From Family” above and pretty much replace the word “family” with “friends.” It’s the same thing here.
Only here’s a big difference: you get to pick your friends. If your friends are a terrible influence on you or are negative about your choices, find new friends. It sounds harsh but it’s true. I don’t have time in my life for people who are going to try to drag me down. Life is difficult enough as it is without negative people in my life dropping their crap in my lap.
So, while you usually can’t avoid your family (though you can limit exposure), you can – and should – drop “friends” from your life who are toxic. Then, replace them with people who will speak encouragement and support into your life because you will need it.
Note: this is not to say that when friends are going through a difficult time, you shed them from your life. I’m referring to pessimistic, negative people who don’t have a positive thing to say about anything.
Group #3 – Mentors
If you want to start a business, find a mentor who has successfully started a business. Your friend who works in a cubicle may be a nice guy, but he shouldn’t be your business mentor.
This applies to all areas of life. Want a successful marriage? Find someone with a successful marriage to mentor you. Want to run a marathon? Talk to someone who has run a marathon to find out how they did it. Don’t take advice from people who haven’t done what you’re trying to do.
In a future post, we’ll examine ways to go about finding mentors in different areas of your life.
Group #4 – Shared Interest/Support Group
We often don’t realize how much we need the support of others until we fail at an attempt to “go it alone.” You’re only alone if you choose to be. There are a lot of people trying to do the same things you are.
Sites like Meetup.com, Facebook and Twitter can help you get connected with others who are on the same journey as you. Also, check your local clubs, organizations, or churches for groups that they know about. Ask around.
When I launched my business, I formed a group of fellow entrepreneurs that meets weekly to encourage and challenge each other. Creating that group has been one of the most valuable decisions I’ve made. They keep me going, hold me accountable, and inspire me to be better than I would be otherwise.
Group #4 – Coaches
Sometimes, you need to seek the advice and counsel of a coach – someone who is not a friend or family member and who will hold you accountable.
A coach is kind of a cross between a mentor and a counselor. They provide you with the tools, resources, inspiration and action steps you need to make progress. A fitness trainer is a coach. A financial counselor is a coach. There are coaches for all areas of life.
It may take time to find the right coach and the right personality fit. Just keep at it. Ask around for referrals from friends or family members you trust.
I recently had a client who, in a moment of exasperation, exclaimed, “Man, you’re not letting me off the hook!” I quickly replied, “You’re not paying me to let you off the hook!”
That’s what you should look for in a coach: someone who doesn’t let you off the hook.
Group #5 – Counselors
Unfortunately, there’s a stigma in our society about going to see a counselor. Look, we’re all jacked up. So if we can just get over ourselves and admit we need help in certain areas, life would be a lot better.
I’ve had great counselors and crappy counselors so be careful with this one and don’t be afraid to try out a few. A good counselor (like a good coach) will not look at you as a life-long meal ticket. Their job is to get you to the point where you don’t need them anymore. Period.
That doesn’t mean you won’t need an occasional check up or session with a coach or counselor, but if 3 years down the road you’re still working through the same issues, fire your counselor.
I’m a big advocate of good counseling.
Where Do You Find Your Support?
There are a lot of ways to get the support you need in your life. These are just a few of them. Which have you found to be the best sources of support and inspiration in your life? Which have not worked out so well?
Please share you thoughts below so that we can all learn!