Recently I was leading a life balance workshop for a sales team on Building Your Support Network. When I asked the group to take a few minutes to sketch out what an ideal professional/personal support team would look like for each of them, the room got very quiet. Most in the room admitted that the idea of asking for and receiving help was a foreign concept; some said they even saw it as a weakness.
I used to think the same thing. As the oldest of seven in a hyper-independent, achievement-oriented family, I did not grow up learning this skill and it was far from natural for me.
The week before final exams my freshman year in college, my 44-year-old 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, armored up my tender heart and marched straight into my exams. I think I failed all but one of my tests. I often wish I could go back and tell my young 18-year-old self: “It’s ok, you don’t have to always hold it together. Learning to ask for help is a strength and an asset.”
Since 2000 our sister company Career Strategists has supported mid to senior level professionals from around the world on job searches, networking and interviewing. 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)
- weather personal and professional challenges more easily and are less likely to feel overwhelmed and are better at maintaining perspective
- stay healthier on all levels and keep resolutions—particularly those involving mental and physical well-being
- 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 most recent 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:
- What would it look like to take the first steps toward allowing support into my life? Where do I most need help?
- How would it feel to be more supported—personally and professionally—in all areas of my life?
- How might my key relationships shift if I began to ask for and receive more support?
I challenge you this week to step out of your comfort zone and ask for help. Having a support system makes all the difference in how you experience the journey!
- Hire me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal in 2019-2020. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and managing your energy. My clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences, nonprofits and organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com with questions.
- Craving authentic community and want to find (or create) your tribe? Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators and empower/support women in your community! More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator and join our inner circle ($100 off through 2/28 for training; learn more + includes private coaching with me).
- Feeling stuck in your job search or career and want help gaining a 30,000 foot perspective? Our sister company Career Strategists offers personalized coaching via phone, Skype and in-person; we’ve been helping men and women ages 20-75 since 1999. Learn more at www.CareerStrategists.net and email info at careerstrategists dot net for a free phone consult.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.
~Did this post speak to you? Please support your friends and family and share it!~