Pillars of Strength: Your Support System

Climbing team struggles to the summit.

Have you heard the ads that begin, “We know times are hard…” They go on to tell you why you need a new car, a new investment strategy or even a beer. What these pleas never say is what you really need in difficult times is a good support system. A good support system can help you network, affirm your competence, challenge your beliefs and ultimately help you through the tough times. A support system is more than a sympathetic ear.

The key to a support system is to make sure you have a variety of types of “support.” People fill different roles in our lives and this will ensure that you always have just what you need to succeed.

Here are some roles you might consider for your support system:

Peers share experiences and ideas. These are the people that are “in the same boat” with you.
Confidants provide warmth and closeness when you share feelings or struggles and as the word implies they hold your trust.
“Dependables” assist in a crisis and are people you can always ask for help, even at the last minute.
“Respecters” understand the magnitude and complexity of your work and appreciate your efforts.
Challengers stretch your perspective and question basic assumptions to push your ideas forward.
Advisors provide methods to solve problems, achieve goals, or take action.

If you are able to find people who fulfill all or most of these roles you will have a strong support system. While Madison Avenue would prefer you grab for a beer when times are hard, a support system will keep you on track and help you through any transition you face-you could also grab the beer!