How to find your Support Network

We all need family and friends in our life to help support us – and having a strong support network is a key ingredient for personal and professional success. When I have a tough day with the kids, I want to call my best friend to get her take, knowing that she will tell me its ok and that tomorrow is another day.

My partner is my rock, and I want to talk to him about all my ideas, hopes and dreams, strategies and plans. And I know I’m that person for him, too. When I first considered becoming a coach for working moms – he was the first to hear about all of my exciting feelings and ambitions, as well as my doubts and fears. And while he had great input and perspective as always, I also realized that in this case, I wouldn’t be able to rely on him quite as much as I usually did.

First, logistics. Working while parenting creates a beautiful and fulfilling life, but it doesn’t necessarily leave a lot of time or space for connecting with people the way you might want or need. And in the midst of kids, work, kids, sleep, and kids (again!), it can sometimes take days or even weeks for us to take a deep dive on something beyond the normal daily routine.

Second, and maybe more importantly, my potential decision would impact our family’s livelihood and dynamic directly. And as supportive as he is, this also naturally made it harder for my husband to be truly open and impartial to my thoughts and plans as I ruminated my next steps professionally. I needed someone who could debate the merits of entrepreneurship without having that little bit of worry in the back of their head about how it might affect them.

When we explore big changes in life, it’s natural for us to share our initial thinking with our support network of family and friends. But sometimes, those closest to us might not always be able to provide you with the focused attention you need, a safe space, or the tools and experience to let you explore your ideas without adding their own concerns or hang-ups to the process. As life gets complicated with more demanding jobs, kids, and multi-faceted goals, it can be harder to identify the right person to help you with the tough, time-consuming (yet rewarding) work of sifting through all the various layers. This is where a coach, a mentor, maybe a boss or even a long-distance friend can be invaluable to help you find the clarity you need.

Once you are sure about your direction, THEN is great time to share your decision with your support network, along with how you got there and the importance to you. Armed with this message and transparency about your journey, you can signal to your support network that it’s time for them to jump on board – and I bet they will. You will need them to motivate you, hold you up, and keep you accountable as you work to achieve your goals.

Your support network will help you to reach greater heights! It’s a matter of activating the right people for the right activity in the right moment.

Helpful questions to explore for yourself:

  • Who makes up my support network? Can I identify the unbiased support from the cheerleaders?
  • What questions can I ask my support network to clarify their role in my growth?
  • Am I clear enough on my direction connect with my support network? If not, how can I get there?
  • Have I thanked my support network and asked if there is anything they need?