6 Support Systems To Put In Place Before You Need Them

Personal Growth Support SystemsI’m still cashing in the chips from last week’s romp through the muck. I’m shoring up my foundation with the four steps I came up with on my Back to Basics day. And now I’m exploring some of the support systems that I can strengthen and/or put into place to accelerate my growth as well as minimize the impact of future weeks spent in the muck!Everyone has ups and downs. No matter how positively focused you are, how often you meditate, workout, or get a massge and no matter how successful you are, there are times when stuff just comes up and you find yourself struggling through the muck.

A common response to those times is to go into hiding. It’s been said that isolation is one of the biggest factors leading to the demise of many small businesses. Well it’s not limited to small business owners. It’s an instinctive response.

Way back when we were running around carrying clubs and grunting a lot, the most effective survival strategy when confronted by a large creature with sharp fangs was to find a small, dark cave to hide in until the creature moved on.

That response is still in us. Even though the creatures we face aren’t so big anymore and most of them don’t have sharp fangs our innate reaction is still to find a cave to hide in until it’s over.

Unfortunately, while that response served our ancestors pretty well, it is very rarely the most effective way to deal with the stuff that comes up now.

A much better approach is to come out of the cave and connect with others. When you feel your strength waning, tap into the strength of others. When the blinders of your old wounds close in tight around your vision, draw on the perspective of others.

Unfortunately, while most of us recognize the importance of having strong support systems I have found that very few people actually take the time and effort to put these systems into place.

So where do you start? Look at the list below. If you have some of these in place already, great! Are there others that you can add to improve the effectiveness of your overall support system?

And if you don’t have any of these systems in place, getting yourself a good coach and finding an accountability partner are two good ones to start with. Each of these is relatively easy to set up and get started, and they are easy to get out of if you find they are not working for you.

But whatever systems you choose, the key is to put them into place before you need them. Once you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the energy or will to reach out and create these systems.

So right now, when you DO have the energy and the will, begin taking some time each week to create support systems.

Here are Six Support Systems to get you started:

Get a Coach:

I admit it: I’m a bit biased. As a coach, I recognize the importance and effectiveness of having a great coach. A good coach will keep you focused on your goals and intentions and reign you back in when you’re spinning off in too many directions.

And when you’re having one of THOSE weeks, a good coach can bring perspective to your experience, open your eyes to the opportunities and lessons in the experience and help you zoom in on the most important items that must get done even if you’re not feeling like doing much of anything.

Join or form a mastermind group:

A mastermind group is an effective source of ongoing, consistent support. Masterminds are most often associated with business, but in reality a mastermind group can be focused on anything. Joe Vitale’s book, Meet and Grow Rich: How to Easily Create and Operate Your Own “Mastermind” Group for Health, Wealth, and More explores many aspects of forming and running a mastermind. And Evan CarMichael has a site filled with great information about Mastermind Groups.

While starting a mastermind group can take a bit of time and effort, the benefits are well worth it!

Get an accountability partner:

An accountability partnership is a very powerful support systems. If you’re in business, you will want to have a partner for your business projects. But even if you’re not a business owner or entrepreneur, you can use an accountability partner for your personal growth, work/life balance, exercise or diet goals. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

My Monday morning check-in with my accountability partner is a highlight of my week. It catalyzes me to get clear on my top priorities for the week and what I am going to commit to for the week.

Join or form a Men’s/Women’s group:

Sometimes the muck needs to be dealt with outside of the business arena. It may be that there’s just a lot of stuff happening in other areas of your life and you need support for that stuff. Same-sex support groups are a very powerful environment within which to explore the stuff that comes up.

Forming deep bonds with other members of your gender is a missing piece for many people. As with the mastermind group, forming a men’s or women’s group will take some time and energy. But the long-term benefits are potentially huge.

Establish a relationship with a therapist or counselor you trust:

For many years I was definitely anti-therapy. My early experiences with mediocre therapists turned me off to the whole idea. But in the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with several truly amazing therapists. And I have definitely seen the benefit of having a relationship – whether ongoing or as needed – with one or more therapists.

The problem is that if you do not have a relationship with a therapist, when you find yourself swimming in the deep end of your “stuff” it’s usually too late to find a great one. A much better approach is to set up the system when you’re feeling good: Get referrals. Interview a few prospective therapists. And have a few sessions to establish a connection. Then, when you find yourself slipping down that slope, you’ll be much more likely to pick up the phone to schedule a session.

Get a mentor:

A mentor is defined as a wise and trusted guide and advisor. A mentor can often save you time and frustration by guiding you around obstacles they have already been through! This is truly one of the most powerful forms of support you can have. And, for many people it can be one of the most difficult to create. But if you already have several of the other support systems in place, this may be the next place to focus your attention.

So there you go: Six support systems that can help smooth out the bumps in the road and accelerate your growth during the good times.

Keep in mind that many of these systems can be “virtual.” I have never met any of the folks in one of my mastermind groups.

If you’re ok with virtual relationships a great place to start your search is on the new Personal Development Partners forum. There are some amazing people over there looking for accountability partners and forming Mastermind groups. You’ll also find some incredible coaches participating in the conversations. Go check it out.

And if you’re looking for non-virtual, i.e. local, “real” connections, a good place to look is on your local Craigslist.

Leave a comment below and let us know what support systems you already have in place. And what other systems do you use that I haven’t listed here? Share your thoughts below.

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      One Response to “6 Support Systems To Put In Place Before You Need Them”

      1. Jennifer Mannion on October 31st, 2007 8:41 am

        Thanks for this article. I am very much an “I can do it all” kind of person. I have joined personal development partners and have noticed how nice it is to have a support system and have a mastermind group with people I met through there. I do go out with the girls for long walks and that seems therapeutic as well. Still looking for that mentor…. LOTS of great options for support systems! Having been so ill and then having healed myself I began to rely ONLY on myself and didn’t like to ask other people for help. That’s definitely not the way to go and I thank you for the reminder. LOVE your site and blog! Jenny

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