Having someone in your corner is essential to success. No matter how hard we try, in the end we all need someone. How is your support system? Good, bad, non-existent?
Winning the game of life is about setting yourself up for success and having a good support system is essential for achieving this. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘behind every good man is a good woman’. It’s an old saying and seems a bit sexist in these modern times but the message runs true to this day.
Your support system should be as varied as possible, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, that way if a basket disappears you’re not left high and dry you still have some forms of support. So what type of support should you be trying to rally?
Family and Friends
Having the support of your family and friends can make or break you. So, let’s start with the break, firstly, you should never embark on any project that could jeopardise your relationships. Especially if it involves money. If your friend or partner doesn’t think you should go ahead and they have a stake in your success, don’t do it. If it goes belly up you’ll lose more than just your shirt.
If on the other hand what you’re doing is harmless and your friends and family think you’re a dreamer and actively discourage you, sometimes it’s better just not to tell them and find some often sources for your support system.
Finally, if you believe that your friends and family will actively encourage you then don’t hesitate to tell them, you need all the help and encouragement you can get and this type often the best. They may not be able to offer good advice but the encouragement will be second to none.
Never underestimate the power of a good mentor. Choose one wisely and they’ll help you focus your attention on what really matters. I have a mentor, the mentor relationship started with very regular meetings and lots of action, now we meet monthly because all of the ground work we did has helped me to focus and there’s no need to meet more often.
Getting a mentor is easier than you might first expect. I chose mine of the basis that in a previous role he had been the best manager I’d ever had and I had a lot of respect for him. I asked to meet with him for five minutes. When we got together I told him about how I respected him and asked if he would mentor me, he said yes straight away.
How would you feel if someone came to you and sincerely told you how great you were and they like to learn from you? You’d be flattered, right? Most people will gladly agree to give you some of their time to mentor you if you approach them in this manner.
This is a person who will hold you accountable for accomplishing your goals. The aim of having one is to mutually agree on the goals you’re going to tackle and report in at a time you both agree on.
If your partner has reached their goal you must congratulate them. This is positive reinforcement, if they fail to meet their goal then it’s your job to chastise them, bring the pain. This is negative reinforcement.
You could even set up some sort of physical reward system like a fee agreed up front to the partner of the person who fails to meet their goals. It has to be something meaningful enough to bring enough to pain to be motivating.
In my experience accountability partners work extremely well but there are obviously a few rules you must follow for them to work
- Clear Goals – It’s best to use SMART for this, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. If you create SMART goals there’s no weaselling out of your commitment. It’s a clear-cut goal that must be achieved
- Honesty – If you’re not honest about what you’ve achieved or you bend the truth then there’s no point is getting an accountability partner
- Follow through – You must encourage achievements and chastise failures on the terms agreed upfront, if you put any penalties for failure in the agreement they must be abided by
By going it alone you’re going to make whatever you’re attempting to achieve a lot harder, it won’t be impossible but it’ll be much easier with the support of you friends and family. If this isn’t possible then you need at the very least to get a mentor and an accountability partner.
Preferably you’d find all three, as a bare minimum I wouldn’t even start what you’re attempting without even one them. They’re easy to find, just do a few searches on the internet for mentor/life coach and accountability and you’ll find lots of results. Don’t delay go out and get one now.