Today’s the final frontier on how to get the support you need. We’ve spent a few weeks on this; here’s the big takeaway: In order to request support from others, it starts with YOU. Personal responsibility makes life much easier.
I’m not a fan of sending you out blindly into the world wanting things without preparing for them. You want to be ready so when you do get it – and you WILL- you’re ready for it.
Here’s how to ask others to get on your team now that you’ve readied yourself.
1. Make a list of people who won’t criticize, judge, or demean you.
This is important. It ensures you start with who’s clearly right or wrong for you. This is about You. Capital Y. Quantity doesn’t matter – 2 or 20 people doesn’t matter – but quality does. Your team should make you feel good. Do they criticize or pigeonhole you into the problem? If yes, don’t put them on the list. Do you feel like your most true, comfortable self with them, enough to be 100% honest? My team doesn’t try to fix fix fix or worry. They listen, offer solutions when they can, and show that they’re with me. Since they’ve seen me at my best – rocking on stage, in my career, or on the dance floor – they know this isn’t my defining moment. “You’ll get to the other side,” they say without blowing smoke.
You need people who hold the highest vision for your life when you can’t.
If you can’t bring both your good and ugly parts to them, they’re a NO. If they don’t have capacity, NO. If they’re too emotional or going through their own pain (without managing it), NO. Basket-cases, drama queens, people with different values need not apply; it’ll make you feel more stuck than you actually are.
My team has enough capacity that even when they go through their own stuff, we can get as messy as we need to with each other. You need people who won’t fall apart when you fall apart on them. Choose wisely.
*Important: Don’t make the mistake of only putting people you love and who love you, on your list. As much as I love my parents, our worldviews are literal worlds apart – their advice often makes me feel flat and disempowered. People balk when I say this, but it’s true. “So I shouldn’t rely on my brother or my wife?” “My best friend of 20 years shouldn’t be on my list?”
The short answer is: NO.
The long answer is: Hell NO. Unless your family and friends *really* understand you at your core, think twice about relying on them solely for support.
Because the only metrics you need are:
- Do you feel drained by them?
- Do you feel obligated, you “should” say certain things to gain their support?
- Do you have to sugarcoat in order to be really supported?
- Do you feel sad, angry, resentful, tired or insecure around them?
If you said YES, don’t put them on your list, including family and close friends.
Doesn’t mean you love them any less or can’t use them for other things. But to help you create the best life for yourself, they can’t be your sole support team.
Take responsibility for your success and set yourself up for ease and results, not more frustration.
Took me a LOOOONG time to learn this one.
2. Make the right ask. Be very specific and formulate it properly.
When you ask someone to support you, don’t do it without thinking. You have to know what you want from them specifically. Then you ask in a way that makes it simple for them to deliver – i.e. don’t ask them to solve all your problems or take away your pain.
If you don’t know what to ask yet, don’t ask :) Just wait and think it through. It’s worth it because it shows respect for the person you’re asking and you feel more confident when you do ask. It’s what we call a win win, folks.
I sent a text to 3 friends requesting them to talk me through hard moments, let me vent, and give me guidance. Then I straight up asked, “Can I put you on my core team?” “Do you want to do it?” I let them know “No” was a perfectly good response and to love me from afar.
Boundaries are great because if someone doesn’t have the genuine desire or capacity, both people suffer.
Last year, my team had such important (and different) roles.
- Bobby literally booked flights with me when he knew I was too scared to do it. He researched, sent me links and said, “Read this now” “Buy this” “Leave the house now.” So helpful when in survival mode.
- Tim relieved fears of the unknown. We talked on Skype every week and exchanged epic emails of encouragement. His sage counsel helped during my most vulnerable moments.
- Sacha, Sherold, Kristen, Susan gave guidance, insight and boatloads of love.
- Al and I laughed constantly. “Here comes another meltdown!”
- Gauri Facetimed when she knew I needed a dose of her baby, Sia. I’m obsessed with her and she always makes me laugh.
- My sister and brother were on call whenever wherever.
- Tina, Lauryn, all my sister goddesses were a text or phone call away.
- Renee – my self love coach was my IV drip back to life. Our weekly calls were life saving and that’s not an exaggeration.
I am SO grateful to them all.
Asking really is the hardest part, but you gotta do it. Then you SEE how much you’re loved and how genuinely people WANT to support you.
3. Practice Practice Practice.
I could write a huge post on this alone.
When you’re building a NEW skill set, it takes time to BUILD.
Practice reduces the self-doubt that comes with asking. Even now, after practicing for a year, it’s still hard. But I need repetition because the FIRST thing I do is forget, especially when life gets hard. It’s easier to default to hiding, isolating, or doing it alone…and we all know how that works out. It does NOT and you know it, don’t play with me!
What you lose from not asking is lots of chances for your life to improve.
We wouldn’t need to practice if hard times didn’t come back. But we KNOW they do, and when we least expect them! So start now. We need tools to support ourselves and when we can’t do it alone, to ask for what we need. That’s what gets us to the finish line.
Don’t worry about looking messy at first. You WILL look messy. But don’t let looking perfect block you from what you really want. The truth is messy, uncomfortable and hard, but you’re getting used to that, warrior. :)
Get out there this week and ask ask ask. You won’t be sorry you did.