Here’s what I do to strengthen my support network.
From the time I decided to quit my full time job, sublet my apartment, relocate my cats to New York, and move to Asia to become a professional coach — I had a universe of people behind me supporting my decision — and helping to make the overwhelming and anxiety-provoking transition easier.
My friends, though they were sad to see me leave Berlin, celebrated my decision to leave and encouraged me to be brave. My family stepped in to support me with packing up my apartment and moving my cats to New York (where they still happily live with my Mom) and sent financial reinforcements when my money ran out.
A friend I had only met in person once connected me to a friend of a friend so I could find a place to live when I arrived in Singapore. And the family of coaches I met while training to be a coach is still just as valuable and irreplaceable in my life today as two years ago.
Every single one of us relies on the support of others to be able to live our lives. Whether it’s at work (we lean on coworkers, our boss, our team, or even the facilities team to keep a clean environment), at home (we lean on our partners, our children, our parents, our community), or anywhere else out in the world (we rely on our fitness trainers, our baristas, our grocers, Amazon delivery heroes).
None of us ever truly acts alone, even though sometimes it may feel that way.
As with anything in life, having the right support network around us can be the difference between floundering and flourishing.
This has become even more evident to me in the two years since I started my business. Though I often like to praise myself for “doing it on my own”, the truth is there are hundreds of silent partners who have been there supporting me each step of the journey.
I have been very fortunate in my life that I’ve had such a strong support through each transition and new phase. Whether I was transitioning through a major career change, moving countries, going through a difficult relationship and eventually a bad breakup, or starting my business with virtually no clue what I was doing — I have had cheerleaders on the sidelines at every step. I’ve never had to bear the burden of fear or anxiety alone.
My parents, my closest friends, my partner, my former colleagues, the people I trained with to become a coach, my business MasterMind, my peers from Sales School, even my favorite spin instructors from Ride Berlin.
Every single person who has touched my life during this journey — whether giving me peace of mind, business advice, coaching me through challenging times, championing me, or just giving me a place to take my mind off absolutely everything — has helped me to get to the place where I am today.
It would have been absolutely impossible without them all.
As in life, leaders also need to build up a support network around them to be sure they have the support, encouragement, and mirror back to themselves to continue to evolve and become better.
When’s the last time you took a look around you to not only acknowledge your support system, but to strengthen it intentionally?
If you are ready to take this step — and I promise you, you are, here is a super simple Five-Step Process that I now use to get really clear on who is in my support network, to show gratitude to them, and to be intentional about who I need in my life to reach my next goal.
Five-Steps to Grow your Support Network
Step 1: Who Are Your People?
Take a piece of paper and a pen — and start writing down the names of 25 people who are in one shape or form engaged in your life right now. These can be your partner, your best friend, your colleague, or your DHL guy (or gal), the chef at your favorite restaurant, a client, etc)
Step 2: Circle Your Top 5
Circle the 5 people who have the biggest influence on you and your life (or business) at the moment. They may provide comfort, words of wisdom, advice, financial support, or show up prominently in your life right now for any other reason.
Step 3: Acknowledge Their Impact
Write down how these five people have shown up in your life and what impact they’ve had on you. How have they supported you, or inspired you? In what ways have they touched your life, made it easier, or taught you a valuable lesson?
Step 4: Express Gratitude
Write down why you are grateful to each one of them. Don’t hold back here. If this person has really had an extra special impact on your life, you can share with them the reasons you are grateful for them in your life. Nothing spreads gratitude faster than sharing what you are grateful for with those who might not otherwise know their impact on you. Take this one step further, and also write down why you are grateful to yourself right now.
Step 5: Take it Forward
Now that you’ve gotten clear on who truly supports you and has an influence in your day-to-day life — think about other areas of your life where you might like to boost your support system. Is it in your business? Your career? In your relationship? And write down who in your current support system you could lean on to become more intentional and courageous in that area.
While you may not have the right person to support you with that part of your life right now, just acknowledging where you may need some extra help or encouragement is the first step to recognizing where you want to change and might need support to do so. Give yourself some space and pay attention to new people who come into your life — or old friends who start to show up more — you will likely find just the right support you need when you need it to strengthen other areas of your life.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to acknowledge and nourish your support network, to feel grateful for those who show up for you, and to intentionally seek out new teachers / guides / mentors / friendships when you are ready to change your life.