My husband and I have been navigating some bumpy parenting terrain; unfortunately we’re not alone. While at times, things can feel really tough, I find tremendous comfort from knowing we have a strong support network in place that we can turn to for mentoring, emotional support and resources.
But asking for and receiving support wasn’t always this natural for me.
The week before final exams my freshman year in college, my dad had a massive heart attack. I was devastated (as was my entire family). But what really saddens me as I look back on that rough time, was that I didn’t reach out for support. Other than sharing the news with one close friend, I kept my feelings to myself, donned my protective armor and marched straight into my exams as unprepared as anyone who didn’t know if their parent was going to make it to the next day. I think I failed all but one of my tests.
For almost two decades, our career coaching team has supported mid to senior level professionals from around the world on career changes, job searches and identifying, finding and creating work that fits them inside and out. Over the years, we’ve observed that people who are comfortable asking for and receiving help—whether that’s from a coach, a therapist, a mentor, professional organization, business partner, neighbor, friend or colleague—experience greater success and feel more connected and confident in all areas of their lives. Having a support system can have a huge impact on how you experience day-to-day life.
Research shows that individuals who have robust support systems:
- are more effective at work and at home (they feel as if they have a “team” behind them and that they’re not all alone)
- keep resolutions, particularly those involving their health and physical well-being
- weather personal and professional challenges more easily
- are less likely to feel overwhelmed and find it easier to maintain perspective
- stay healthier on all levels—mentally, physically and emotionally
- are less likely to feel isolated (isolation can lead to feelings of despair and failure) and experience less stress and burnout
- have children who are comfortable asking for and receiving support and help from others
Learning to get comfortable asking for and receiving help takes serious practice. Even though it’s difficult for most of us, it’s in our nature to give and receive help. We are meant to experience community and connection, to lean on and into each other, not just when things get tough — but every day!
Check out Ch. 10 on Building a Support Network from my latest book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, for a powerful exercise guiding you through how to build your own personal and professional support network. Then take a few minutes and explore this guided journaling exercise from this same chapter.
Building a Support System: A Journaling Exercise~ Close your eyes for a minute and place one hand over the center of your chest. Take a deep breath. Observe with curiosity and compassion whatever “asking for help” stirs up for you. When you’re ready, answer the following:
1. What would it look like to take the first steps toward allowing support into my life? Where do I most need help?
2. How would it feel to be more supported — personally and professionally — in all areas of my life?
3. How might my family life and relationship shift if I began to ask for and receive more support?
Ready to step into a new way of being and begin embracing support? Here’s three ways to start today:
- Join (or facilitate) a Personal Renewal Group for women based on our award-winning curriculum
- Sign up for one of my self-renewal tele-courses and learn at your own pace OR pick up one of my books
- Schedule me to speak to your organization/employees in 2018 on “Creating Resiliency: Building Your Support Network”