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!
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 http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz 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 http://visa.com/business.