Lately I’ve been spending time envisioning and strategizing the next phase of my business which will include much more travel and speaking. And I’ve been enlisting lots of help. When I have a large-scale plan I’m executing, I find tremendous comfort knowing I can tap my robust support network for mentoring, new perspectives, connections and resources.
But asking for and receiving support –personally or professionally–wasn’t always this natural for me.
The week before final exams my freshman year in college, my 44-year-old dad had a massive heart attack. I was devastated (as was my entire family). But what really saddens me as I look back on that rough time, was that I didn’t reach out for support. Other than sharing the news with one close friend, I kept my feelings to myself, armored up my tender heart and marched straight into my exams. I think I failed all but one of my tests.
Since 2000 our career coaching team has supported mid to senior level professionals from around the world on career changes, job searches and personal branding. Over the years, we’ve observed that people who are comfortable asking for and receiving help—whether that’s from a coach, a therapist, a mentor, professional organization, business partner, neighbor, friend or colleague—experience greater success and feel more connected and confident in all areas of their lives. Having a support system can have a huge impact on how you experience day-to-day life.
Research shows that individuals who have robust support systems:
- are more effective at work and at home (they feel as if they have a “team” behind them and that they’re not all alone)
- weather personal and professional challenges more easily
- are less likely to feel overwhelmed and find it easier to maintain perspective
- stay healthier on all levels and keep resolutions—particularly those involving mental and physical well-being
- are less likely to feel isolated (isolation can lead to feelings of despair and failure) and experience less stress and burnout
- have children who are comfortable asking for and receiving support and help from others
Learning to get comfortable asking for and receiving help takes serious practice. Even though it’s difficult for most of us, it’s in our nature to give and receive help. We are meant to experience community and connection, to lean on and into each other, not just when things get tough—but every day!
Check out Ch. 10 on Building a Support Network from my most recent book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, for a powerful exercise guiding you through how to build your own personal and professional support network. Then take a few minutes and explore this guided journaling exercise from this same chapter.
Building a Support System: A Journaling ExerciseClose your eyes for a minute and place one hand over the center of your chest. Take a deep breath. Observe with curiosity and compassion whatever “asking for help” stirs up for you. When you’re ready, answer the following:
- What would it look like to take the first steps toward allowing support into my life? Where do I most need help?
- How would it feel to be more supported—personally and professionally—in all areas of my life?
- How might my key relationships shift if I began to ask for and receive more support?
I challenge you this week to step out of your comfort zone and ask for help. Having a support system makes all the difference in how you experience the journey!
Join Renee for an upcoming retreat:
Sept. 21-23 A New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains, Lenox, MA.
Oct. 26-28 A New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at 1440 Multiversity in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Scotts Valley, CA.
Jan. 25-27, 2019 A New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshire Mountains, Lenox, MA.
For weekly work/life balance support and inspiration, women’s self-renewal groups, resources and all upcoming retreats/workshops with Renee Trudeau visit www.ReneeTrudeau.com.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/speaker/author Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find their center through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. She is the author of three books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.