01 Mar Who is in Your Corner?
I always look forward to our Reflection Friday call. Our conversations bring new insights and challenge our old perspectives.
As women, we’re quick to take on so many responsibilities. We’re superwomen! We can do it all (cheers and rah, rah for us!). We are quick to take on more responsibilities but hesitate to ask for help. We’re so busy taking care of others, we fail to prioritize the tasks that are important to our personal and professional success. Having people by our side can not only keep us on track but help us be successful faster and with ease.
In this blog, I’m going to highlight the different types of support women should consider at different times in their business growth. We all have people in our corner to turn to and have we taken the time to consider if they are the ones we really need.
The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves.
In our conversation, we looked at two types of support systems – the emotional and the technical/professional.
Our emotional support system
While both men and women are highly emotional beings – yes, we tend to minimize the emotional capacity of our men, yet they deal with it in a different way than us women do. We all need our emotional supporters.
Our friends and families tend to be the go-to group for our emotional support. They know us the best; they have been around for the longest time and are comfortable being upfront and honest with us. And there may be situations where your family and friends think they have your best interest at heart and care so deeply for you they may unintentionally hold you back. Their love for you wants to keep you safe or doesn’t push you far enough out of your comfort zone. Some may harbor feels that if you grow, flourish and succeed, you won’t need them anymore. Your growth and development may force them to see their deficiencies, leading them to try to slow you down. Again, this isn’t intentional or coming from a place of ill-will, it’s just human nature.
We all need cheerleaders. These are people build our self-esteem by celebrating our achievements. They are there for you when you’re down. They are empathetic. They feel your emotions, acknowledge them and don’t brush them off. They wait until you’re ready to come out of the dark corners of your emotions and don’t push you because they’re uncomfortable. They see your potential – even more so than you see in yourself and remind you of it at every opportunity.
Our Professional and Technical Support System
Opportunities for professional support come in a realm of different ways. I’m going to briefly touch on the most common ones. Keep in mind that your needs may change at different stages of your business growth. What might serve you today may not be relevant down the road, so keep this list handy and regularly review your needs.
Mentors are in your industry and are experienced and experts in the field. They have successfully traveled the path you are walking and are willing to share their experience to guide you to success. They are usually someone you respect and want to emulate.
As business owners, we don’t take advantage of sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors are people within an organization you’d like to work with who you have built a relationship with and will vouch for your expertise and abilities. If this person is highly respected within their organization, their recommendation of you will carry significant weight. Sponsors speak to your expertise and character.
Coaches are experts in personal development and have specific training in this area. They help their clients be more authentic, self-aware, and confident. Coaches help you focus on who you are being in your life and look at your whole life, not just a component of it. They help you find your own answers through curiosity. And while they may provide their views or thoughts, they are not attached to them as a consultant would be.
A consultant comes with expertise in a specific area of business. They work with business owners in sharing their knowledge and experience. Unlike mentors, they aren’t industry experts. Their guidance is providing steps, systems, processes and advice on how to achieve specific objectives. Consultants are not coaches – even though they may refer to themselves in this way. They tell you what you should be doing and are strongly committed to their ways.
A mastermind group is a regular meeting of a specified group of people with a clear intention for the gathering. There are professionally facilitated groups in which you pay a fee to join, and ad hoc groups where someone volunteers to take the lead. Each has its pros and cons. I have been part of both and offer mastermind groups to women entrepreneurs. As a member of an ad hoc group, I struggled to gain quality insights from the members. Many of the members were trying to figure out their business path. When the organizer had to step out due to personal issues, the group fell apart.
In my facilitated groups, I have a very clear program my members participate in. I am always looking for concepts to help them be proactive in their business growth. I keep them focused on their business vision and strategy while many ad hoc groups focus on the day to day challenges.
Regardless of what stage of business you are at, you should never feel that your professional challenges are something you must figure out on your own. It’s unnatural. Both men and women love helping other people. So, ask for help, invest in yourself and your business and the results will quickly become evident.