Tell me if this sounds familiar to you: I probably have no fewer than 12 personal systems and devices—all designed to “support” and streamline my work and life. I’m surrounded by devices, yet when I have needed support from a person, I have sometimes found myself alone.
There were two extraordinary times during the last several years when I really wanted and needed support. Indescribably, even though the right people were there, I didn’t reach out to them. The first time was when my husband and I went on an epic motorcycle adventure for two years. We rode two big BMW motorcycles from Oregon to the southern tip of South America. The thing that nearly caused me to give up on my dream (at least three times!) was that I greatly missed being with my tribe. You know, those friends you can immediately slip into a deep conversation with or colleagues who generously share their expertise and experience. It wasn’t that they weren’t there. They were. It was that I didn’t reach out to them.
The second time that found myself in need of support from people was after returning from that two-year motorcycle trip and starting my own business. After working for other organizations for 35 years, I was all alone in my office. I needed people to talk with about everything related to running a coaching and consulting business such as technology, marketing, finances, and oh so much more. I loved being part of a team, of an organization, of a community of people. I did not like being alone … until I figured it out. I don’t have to be alone and in fact, being alone makes lousy business sense.
Now, I have the people, groups, and organizations that support me at my fingertips. This shortens the distance from stuck to unstuck. Plus, it’s more fun!
Human beings are wired for connection. We can do so much more, so much better when we work together and yet, it can be hard to reach out in our time of need. Deciding in advance who you can turn to for different purposes will make the “asking for help” process go much smoother.
Here are some questions to get you started thinking about who is there waiting to give you support. As you read these questions, write down who comes to mind. It might be friends, family, colleagues, or someone you hire.
All of these questions may or may not fit. That’s okay. Take what fits and write some of your own.
Who helps you tackle problems and challenges?
Who understands your business, industry, field or situation?
Who has specific expertise that you need?
Who understands the people connected with your business or job such as clients, customers, volunteers, stakeholders, clients, employees, board, etc.?
Which groups do you want to join and be actively involved in? (Examples: Chambers, industry associations, etc.)
Do you want to start or find a group? (Examples: mastermind, accountability, coaching.)
If you work in an organization, who supports you internally?
Who have you or do you need to hire to support you? (Examples: bookkeeper, coach, virtual assistant, graphic designer, marketing.)
Who can you delegate to?
Who can you talk with when you’re feeling down?
Who can you dream with?
It’s one thing to know who you’ll reach out to but actually making the call or sending the email or text is another thing all together. Often when you need help it’s because you’re feeling unclear, foggy, overwhelmed, or even overly excited. Writing reminders for yourself will help you clearly see when it’s time to reach out sooner rather than later.
How will you remind yourself to reach out when you want and/or need help?
To answer this question, examine previous experiences. When do you wish you would have reached out sooner? What were you feeling? What was happening? As you think about the answers to those questions, what do you notice that will help you navigate the situation better next time? Here are some examples from my list right now. I know it’s time to reach out when:
- I feel overly frustrated, tired, or pessimistic
- I don’t feel curious, outgoing, or creative
- I don’t know what I’m doing or don’t have a talent for it
Getting the support that you want and need to accomplish your visions, goals, and wild dreams starts with you. There are people willing and ready to give you what you need…all you need to do is ask.
How will you find your tribe? I’d love to hear. Send me an email to [email protected].
Header image by Hassan OUAJBIR/Unsplash.