4 Lessons about Abundant Life & Your Support System
The fallacies keeping many from enjoying the productivity boost of support systems include the following:
• Support is for people who are sad or unmotivated.
• People steal ideas.
• People are not consistent.
• People don’t know how to mentor.
To these I respond with specific guidance refocusing the onus upon you, the person benefiting from the support. As the beneficiary, you must engage intentionally. Look not to be disappointed, but to offer value (a chance for sharing) and gain value through the interaction. Realize that support is not just for the hurting. Discern and associate yourself with people who have integrity. Cultivate multiple mentors. Engage your mentors in interaction, which they are used to, rather than attempting to train them as mentors.
Support as a People Resource
A support system that functions well and is stocked with a varied selection of expertise, experience, and styles is more than just a source for pep talks, motivational quotes, or needed scolding. Such a group can be an extended education, a prime introduction, a prized collaboration, or a key ally. The quality of the people is one important consideration. Choose people that you look up to. Do not worry about trouble in accessing them or their acceptance of the role of support system. You do not have to take much of their time. They only need to answer and respond when you call. No further commitment should be initially sought.
Discern Your Friends
People who are boss-types rarely have time to work through your ideas because they are busy on their own. The only care is that you do not dream so small that your “idea” is a trifle or a simple component of a larger business model. It is not stealing to put together these trite concepts. Your ideas should be large and complex enough that it would take longer time than allotted to explore them fully. You should be engaging your support system for reactions, answers, and connections related to pieces of the larger puzzle. To “take” any one of those pieces would not represent an ability to reconstitute the whole plan.
You must also cultivate relationships with people who have the integrity and ethics to maintain confidence and propriety regarding your intellectual property. A fear of contacts stealing your ideas reveals a distrust of your current group. This necessitates cultivation of another group. Do not spend another moment with people that you cannot trust. Understand that a group with integrity and ethics are more than what they will not steal. They are a boon for the sharing and inspiration of additional insights that you have not thought of yet.
Often, the challenge of consistency with support systems is a question of your consistency. At least it should be. To rely on or expect consistency from another person is to be disappointed. You don’t need the person to be consistent. You need to have multiple people you can call when you need professional guidance. Remember, you are not engaging with them for an emotional, symbiotic, or contract. These require consistency. You are engaging to siphon their intellect and know-how. There are multiple places to get that information. You must cultivate them in case one source is not available at a given moment.
Develop Your Mentors
A mentor does not even have to know that he/she is a mentor. The point is not their awareness or technique. The point is your benefit from their expertise, experience, and connectedness. Rather than worrying about whether they are a good mentor, focus on being a great mentee and gaining all you can from each interaction.
Interactions can be as simple as a phone call to get 2 or 3 questions answered. Even people you don’t know may be willing and able to provide that support. As your relationship evolves, interactions may evolve beyond questions to the point where the mentor offers suggestions without prompting.