How to Get the Support You Need in Life and Business


Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about,
need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.  ~Jerome Fleishman

Have you ever had a moment where you got frustrated, wondering why those around you weren’t being supportive of your dreams?

Maybe it felt like they didn’t understand.  Maybe it even seemed like they were actively fighting against what you were trying to get done.

That’s not a great place to be.  We all need the right kind of support and encouragement to help us keep moving forward.

But many times there’s an easier path than we realize to getting that support we desperately want.

1.  Define what you need to feel supported.

When you tell your spouse, partner, parents, or children you need their support, do they understand what it is you’re asking for?

Support can mean different things depending on who’s asking, what they’re dealing with and who they need support from.

From my children I need their cooperation in allowing me focused blocks of time to work, staying a little bit quieter when I’ve got an important phone call, and not deciding to decorate each other with Sharpie markers during either of those times.  That’s not the kind of support I need from a partner or friend (okay, so I’ve got one or two super creative friends who I’d not put past decorating each other with marker but that’s their decision).

One of the sweetest displays of support for some of us can be something as simple as your partner being aware that you’re working against a tough deadline (communication about what you’re dealing with is key!) and being a little more patient if you’re tied up in work or under stress, and making time to bring you coffee or take charge of lunch or dinner.

For others, support might mean completely quiet, uninterrupted work time and no coffee or meals.

If you don’t communicate what your needs are to feel supported, those around you may think they’re supporting you because they’re doing what they need as support instead of what you need.

Feeling supported might just mean you need someone important in your life to take 10 minutes and let you share with them the challenges and successes from your day.  Or it might mean you need 10 minutes of total solitude to process your day.

Take a few minutes to write out just what you DO need from each person in your life who you need support from.

2.  Have a real conversation.

Based on your notes, make time to have an open, honest conversation with those in your life who you need support from.

Approach the conversation by sharing that you appreciate their love and support, and that you want to make it easier for them to support you the way you need.

Don’t focus on what they aren’t doing to support you currently or why you’re frustrated.  Just share what you need and give them the opportunity to provide it for you.

Consider what’s in it for the person you’re asking for support from.  If you reach your goals with their support, what’s the ultimate outcome?

Those around you need to know what you need to feel supported you, and why it benefits them.

3.  Evaluate, negotiate, and adapt.

Next, take time to step back and evaluate how things are working after you’ve been clear about what you need.  Are you feeling supported?

If so, acknowledge that and thank those making changes to support you so they know how much you appreciate it.

If not, look at why and bring them back to a conversation to negotiate and figure out workable solutions.  Or adapt by looking for alternatives–is there someone else who can provide the support you need or a way to modify the situation so a different type of support would be helpful?

There are many ways to find support through peer groups online, masterminds or coaching programs, and more.  Reach out and connect with the people and groups you need.

Take Responsibility and Take Charge

The best way to feel supported is to take responsibility for yourself and take charge.  You can create the environment you need to succeed with focus, patience, and intentional action!

Your Turn!

Do you feel supported in your business?  What type of support do you need that you can ask for or take action to create?  What’s worked for you to help those around you get on board with supporting you?

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit

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  1. Love this! Thank you!

    1. Hey Tracy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

  2. I thank the lucky stars that I receive full support from my girlfriend Kelli – she is an internet person too ;) – but when dealing with others around me, what a practical guide you have provided for us!

    Open up the channels of communication, bust your tail and most people will support you.

    Thanks for sharing Michelle!
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted… What to Do When Somebody Pisses You Off Online?My Profile

    1. That’s awesome, Ryan. A supportive partner is worth far more than their weight in gold.

      Clear communication makes such a difference. Both with ourselves and others. If we don’t know what we want, it’s tough to recognize or ask for.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Create Blog Posts that Catch the Eye and Mesmerize Your ReadersMy Profile

  3. I’m fortunate to have a husband who gets it! He loves what he does, too & can get as swept away by it as I do sometimes.

    Having open, honest communication is definitely the key to getting the support you need. Many times as entrepreneurs, we are so in our heads. We’re thinking up millions of thoughts & ideas and don’t always realize others around us aren’t mind readers! ;-) It’s amazing how having clarity about what we need and clearly communicating it quickly reduces any frustration & drama. Thanks for the post, Michelle!

    1. It sure does! Thanks for sharing, Kelly. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do You SEE Your Potential? You are Amazing!My Profile

  4. Thank you @Michelle, I really needed this post today. stressful day and had to seek out some support.
    MJ Schrader recently posted… Beware of the SEO HackMy Profile

    1. Love ya, MJ! (((hugs)))

  5. This is great, Michelle! Real-life advice for real-life challenges!
    Amy recently posted… Loaded-up Pretzel Cookies plus!My Profile

    1. Life likes to throw all sorts of challenges at us but somewhere, someone’s figured out a bit more about how to deal with it gracefully. My mastermind group inspired this post in a conversation about support. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Create Blog Posts that Catch the Eye and Mesmerize Your ReadersMy Profile

  6. The best work for me are get involved in conversation (mostly give feedback others need) and take responsibility to achieve our own goal in certain time. It’s like onpage and offpage on SEO things. Conversation give you “offpage” while taking charge/responsibilty as “onpage”. Feel responsible for something will surely give boost to our life and business
    Okto recently posted… 7 Pinterest Ideas to Consider When You Build Up Your Business BoardsMy Profile

  7. The best that works for me with the kids is to explain to them how I really need them their help by entertaining themselves for some time and then we get to do something fun together.

    And if all fails, I just hide with my laptop somewhere :)
    Delia recently posted… Blogger interview: Kathy HadleyMy Profile

  8. Thanks Michelle,
    Wonderful advice, as usual. I agree, we’ll overcome SO MANY obstacles if we only learn how, and take the time to, clearly communicate with those who matter most. I believe that most of everyone’s conflicting priorities can be resolved, and success develops through patient give-and-take. Not only for solving today’s problems, of course, but also for following old dreams and creating new projects.

    But I feel your best suggestion is urging us to take charge and be responsible. Unless we’re incredibly lucky all the time, it’s up to us to see that important things get done right, whatever it takes.
    Robbie Schlosser recently posted… Cocktail Hour Music — How to Choose a Song List for a Wedding or a PartyMy Profile

  9. Hi Michelle,
    I love the last one- about taking charge- this is the point of action. Which is a must… all of the planning in the world- doesn’t help- if we don’t act:) Sheri
    Sheri Kaye Hoff recently posted… Success :-)My Profile

  10. A wonderfully thought out and written post Michelle. I am sure there are many who work from home and struggle to get the quality time to get the work done that they need to achieve. Good advice all round.

  11. Great article. I think the most important things are knowing what you need and then asking for it. I seem to be better at knowing what I don’t need and that is a lot of noise when I’m trying to write! But thinking about what I need, I don’t want to work in a totally silent house either – I like the company – just not too much of it all day. I’ll need to think about this a bit more.
    Ana recently posted… Relationship Danger: Knowing What He Likes!My Profile

  12. I particularly like the mention of setting aside ten minutes a day to discuss your successes and challenges. That’s something I feel could be really useful for myself and probably my partner too. I am going to start that tonight and see if it’s something that could work for us to open up a conversation about how we can help and support each other through those successes and challenges. Thanks Michelle.
    Rachel Taylor recently posted… What Are The Symptoms Of Rosacea?My Profile

  13. You are right! have the support from family or other people is the advantage for your business. If you want to have support, you have to persuade people about your business. You must have a clear plan to show them that you could be success or at least that you do your business not for fun. I prefer face to face conversation to ask somebody support. Very nice sharing. Thank you.
    QuynhLan recently posted… How to add Attributes to products in OpenCart?My Profile

  14. Wonderful recommendation, as usual. I agree, we tend to’ll overcome such a big amount of obstacles if we solely find out how, and take the time to, clearly communicate with people who matter most

  15. Thought provoking post Michelle. We need every tip available to succeed in today’s world. Thanks for sharing.
    Neil Butterfield recently posted… You NEED Chocolate! See Why…My Profile

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