Your Golden Circle of Support, Part 2

“Our prime purpose in life is to help others.”

Dalai Lama

Welcome back to this exploration of the nature of support and some strategies you can use to create your own Golden Circle of Support!

Let’s jump right into this! 

The Difficulties of Accepting Support

Julie: I don’t know why, but it’s much easier to give support to someone than to receive it. I get uncomfortable thinking about approaching another person for help. I’m afraid I sound “needy.”

I’ve heard something like the above from workshop participants from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter where they live: there seems to be a social “taboo” about openly asking for support.  

It may be that many of us are uncomfortable with asking others to support us because we associate it with being like a young child. We’ve all had the experience of someone taking a task away from us rather than showing us how to do it for ourselves. Sometimes we’ve even been frustrated in giving support to another person, although that usually happens when they didn’t ask for our support to begin with. 

But watch the face of a young child, for example, who you show how to tie her shoelaces when she finally gets the knack of it. Her face lights up with pride, and if you are the one who’s been coaching her, you are as proud as she!

Robert Lewis, who was a columnist for InfoWorld magazine, suggested this experiment: Next time you have a task or new assignment that puts you in unfamiliar territory, call five people in your company whom you’ve never met, describe your project, and say, “I was told you might have some good insights on how to approach this problem. Can you spare an hour to help me get my thoughts together?”

“I guarantee you,’ he writes, “ at least six of the five will offer more help than you have any right to expect. And when you’re done, they’ll thank you. People want to create value for others– that’s where self-esteem comes from.” 

That’s right, six of the five. People are that willing and eager to share what they know.

Getting Support for Yourself

Please do the following exercise if you are ready and willing to generate support for a personal or professional project. The practice will take about ten minutes. You’ll need a notebook, a pen, and your calendar.

You are looking for a genuinely supportive person to help you attain a small goal. This person should be someone you like, trust, and are willing to let support you to go past a point where you’ve stopped yourself from reaching the desired outcome.

You need someone who is not worried or afraid to hold you to doing what you said you’d do—someone who is willing to remind you of your promises. Some of the most common reasons people say they can’t do what they promised are

  • I don’t have the time to do it right now
  • I don’t have the energy
  • I’m too busy trying to finish other projects
  • My “hair is on fire” with all of the other promises I’ve made and have yet to complete

Take a moment and list two or three reasons–excuses, really–that you’ve used over the past weeks, months, or even years, that have kept you from taking action on this particular goal. Be as specific as possible. You want to read these out loud to your prospective “supporter” and permit them to remind you, whenever you say or write them, that these are the excuses that have held you back from doing what you ultimately want to do.

The person who supports you shouldn’t have a vested interest in the outcome. They should be excited about what you’re going to do. However, their well-being and comfort shouldn’t relate to whether or not you are successful.

To find this person:

  • Make a list of people who fit the above criteria of a supportive person. Friends, co-workers, family members, or a coach could be perfect for you.
  • If your list is very short or nonexistent, take heart. Looking at how to get quality support will open up exciting possibilities. Give yourself a day or two.
  • Pick a specific project in which you’re willing to be supported. Have it be something you can do without too much of a stretch.

Beginning to walk three times a week and enrolling in meditation, painting, drama, or dance classes…and attending them… might qualify.

  • Choose someone from your support list. Are you willing to let this person be successful in supporting you?
  • Within the next forty-eight hours, invite the chosen person to support you. Let them know you’d be honored if they would help you and that you promise to give them a successful experience in doing it.
  • One fifteen-minute call, three times a week, is usually sufficient to establish the structure of your support call. 
  • The support person asks: “Regarding your project, are you doing what you said you would do?”
  • You promise to tell the truth: you realize that making up yet another excuse puts you off-track. And you are clear it doesn’t work to get you what you truly want. 
  • The support relationship can last for 90 days, even up to years! This enduring relationship occurs because, around 30 days into the process, the other person becomes interested in having you support them! I know supportive pairs that have been meeting for five or six years.

Give yourself the pleasure of creating a mutually beneficial support relationship. Many of the people you admire have established these relationships. It’s one way to bring clarity, focus, ease, and grace to whatever you desire to do. You have created your Golden Circle of Support!

“You can’t achieve anything entirely by yourself. There’s a support system that is a basic requirement of human existence. To be happy and successful on earth, you just have to have people that you rely on.”

Michael Schur

Wishing you all my best,