Who Is Part of Your Support System?

I read Reginald Braithwaite’s tweet about people who work long hours and their success. Some of the comments discuss not just the single parent, but the support system all successful people need.

We have a myth (at least in the US) that we can succeed all on our own. We can’t. We need other people to support us as we work towards success.

I think of my success as the top of the iceberg—the 10% you see. You don’t see my support system, the people who help me achieve that success. They’re the 90% you don’t see.

I have an extensive support system. I bet you expect these people:

  • My family
  • The people who help me finish my books
  • My coaches (for business and my health)

I have people I regularly ask for help, even though help does not have to be reciprocal.

I also have “random” people, people I don’t expect as part of my support system:

  1. People who bring my briefcase onboard the airplane. (The smaller the plane, the more the jet bridge has an incline down to the plane. I have trouble looking down and walking down due to my vertigo.) My briefcase rolls and is light, but sometimes, I don’t walk straight.
  2. People who ask, “May I Help You?
  3. People who read my writing and offer comments about what stood out for them.

The first two unexpected types of people tend to be strangers. I continue to learn to say, “Thank you,” and accept their help. (Argh.)

Some of the people who leave comments are long-time readers. Some are new. The commenters don’t always realize the effect of their words. I’m not quite impervious to negative comments—I am human. However, the people who offer another perspective, the people who make me think differently? Wow, those people are definitely part of my support system.

No one achieves anything worthwhile alone. We offer outcomes to each other. Some of those outcomes we need to repeat daily and weekly, such as doing dishes or dusting. Some of those outcomes last longer, such as what I offer as a consultant through writing, workshops, coaching.

That’s why the people I don’t expect as part of my support system are so precious to me.

When a stranger offers assistance and when people comment on my writing they offer me feedback. Here’s what’s common between these groups of people:

  • They feel some emotion about me when they see me. (In the case of an airplane, it might be annoyance. “Let’s get this woman on the plane already!”)
  • They feel some emotion in themselves when they see me.
  • They feel something when they read my words and tell me.

My experience says that most people feel generous under most conditions. Maybe not when they feel stress (airplanes!). But, most of the time. And, they listen to those feelings.

Those feelings allow them to offer to be part of your support system.

That’s the question this week: Who is part of your support system?

5 thoughts on “Who Is Part of Your Support System?

  1. karlosmid

    Hi Johanna, thanks for the post!

    I found my support system from people at local meetups. This is one of hidden benefits to be regular at meetups. I get negative and positive support, about my talk (when I do one), my blog posts or just in random conversation that sparks at those gatherings.

    The secret about meetups is that only 10% attendees are there for free food and drinks. Other 90% are thoughtful professionals that are there to learn and share their knowledge.

    Regards, Karlo.

    https://blog.tentamen.eu

    1. Johanna Post author

      Karlo, I laughed at the food and drink attendees line. I used to be a little cynical about those people. I now think they are there for the connection with other humans. They might not know how to make a human connection, so they come to the meetup. We can’t read other people’s minds (as much as I might like to!).

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