Developing a Support System Is Important!
With few exceptions, individuals who seek the services of a coach have some area of their lives that isn’t working, some aspect that is a particular challenge. Whether related to on-the-job issues or a career change, they believe that something that they value or aspire to is beyond their current ability to achieve. And this disparity between life objectives and current outcomes produces stress and tension and undermine self esteem, at least temporarily.
I have found that a significant determinant in how well a client navigates in periods of uncertainty and stress is the amount and quality of emotional support that he or she has to rely upon. Certainly, a coach is part of that support system, and I give high marks to anyone who knows what he or she doesn’t know and seeks the wisdom of an expert in the field. But support extends to other areas of life, as well.
Spiritual support, for example, is important. I am always curious to know, “Do you have a spiritual belief system that includes some greater force at work in the world beyond yourself?” It matters little to me what particular force individuals follow, so long as they have one. For some people the magnificence and mystery of Nature is enough to shift their perspective on the problems facing them. Taking a walk in the fresh air provides a sense a relief and restoration, no matter how distressing one’s immediate circumstances.
I also ask, “Who do you have that you can talk candidly with about troubling issues on a day-to-day basis?” A listening ear and encouragement from one or more friends or family members is crucial to wellbeing. An ideal confidante is one who is close enough to care about you, but who has the personal maturity and enough distance to avoid becoming embroiled in the intensity of the issues. Surprisingly, advice is generally not helpful. What works best is someone who will remind you that you have gifts and talents; who will reflect back to you that you are smart and capable, irrespective of the drama that may be unfolding around you. These encouraging few in our lives are rare gems to be treasured.
Frequently, the individuals who provide just such an encouraging presence for others are unable to ask for support for themselves. Why this is, I’m not entirely sure, beyond the obvious. However, it is these individuals with whom I work closely to cultivate a strong and positive support system. It can be as simple as asking! Who in your circle of acquaintances leaves you feeling energized when you’re together? Consider asking that person to meet for coffee on some regular basis, just to talk about and share one another’s lives. Ask how you can support that person in return. If your request is rebuffed for whatever reason, don’t take it personally, or be hurt—find someone else!
In this area of personal development, it is the taking of initiative that is most important. Remember the adage, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”? When you are ready to find a support system—and you take practical steps in that direction—the universe will bring supporters into your world. I guarantee it!