10. Building a Support Network
In the Buddhist tradition, one of the main teachings concerns our interconnection or interdependence. However, you don't have to be a Buddhist to know this is true. Look around your life right now. Who supplies your food? Who repairs things in your home? Who services your car? We rely on so many people in our lives just to keep them functioning. So in many ways we already have a support network. Now, we want to consciously refine this network.
Being Selective Support networks play two big roles in your life transition. The first is simply support. That means encouragement, good will, blessings, intangible connections that go a long way to helping you make a leap of faith. It is important when you are making a change in your lifestyle to honestly look at the people that you interact with. We have a pretty wide tolerance for different styles of personalities most of the time. However, when you are making a major transition, you are in a very vulnerable place. During times like this, people who are particularly prone to worry, fear, anxiety and criticism may not be the best company for you. It doesn't mean you have to cut these people out of your life. However, you might want to consider being circumspect about what you talk about and with whom. There is nothing worse than having a tiny spark of an idea completely extinguished by the winds of other people's fears. So build a network of people that you can count on to listen openly and encouragingly to your ideas. If you need to hire a professional counselor or coach, this is the time to do so. Don't go it alone.
The second benefit of a support network is that you begin to create links for your future. It is amazing how when you begin to talk about a new project or direction, suddenly everyone you meet seems to know someone who just did that, or who can help you with your idea, etc. The world seems to open up. This is the time to really work the network. Talking to people who can help you in a new endeavor, or even help you eliminate some directions in favor of others is such a safe way to create your future.
As with all the other aspects of this life change, the key to building a successful network is to include your heart, and your intuition in the process. In our typical business mindset, we size people up mentally, and think, this one can help, this one has no contacts. However, when you are leading with your heart, how you feel around the person is the key. When your heart is open, you never know what support gets revealed.
There are plenty of 'mental' approaches to building a support network, including making lists and lists and more lists. However, when you lead with the heart, the heart will lead you where you need to go. In the exercises, two case studies illustrate how easily this can happen.
Exercises 1.Read Case Study 1:
2. Read Case Study 2:
3. Make a commitment to keep open to your intuition and listen inside yourself for opportunities to talk about your change.
Be willing to talk openly from the heart when you feel drawn to do so.
4. Take time to check inside yourself and decide which people are best to share your ideas with, and which ones need to be kept out of the process for now. Have the courage to act on this.