Who is your support system supporting?

I received a call from an old client out of the blue the other day. Deborah and I had worked together a few years ago, and when we parted, she was enthusiastically pursuing goals of love, spirituality, and a new business partnership. It was great to hear her voice, and to listen to her stories of how things had progressed the past few years. She called because she was feeling the pull to make another dramatic career change. Deborah wanted relocate and bring the skills she had developed the past few years as a business consultant and her passion for technology to a new industry. She wanted to take her skills and experience and add value in a new way to a new area. I could hear her voice practically quiver with excitement as she talked about her plans. I could also feel the anxiety through the phone lines. She was terrified of making “the biggest mistake of her life.”

As I asked questions, it became clear that Deborah had been thorough in her research and planning. Because the change was so big, so transformative, she had test runs, contingency plans, and exit plans for every risk. Because she was so prepared, I was curious what was triggering all the doubts and fears.

I discovered that when she told her family, they panicked. They thought she was making a bad decision, taking too big of a risk, and could, possibly “ruin her life.” As we talked more, it became clear that her family was really experiencing two things. 1: They were worried about her. They wanted her to be safe and happy. For them, this new dream wouldn’t lead to that. 2: She was not pursuing their dreams for her life. They had their own dreams for how she was to be safe and happy, and this wasn’t it.

Deborah began to question her own judgment. She didn’t want to lose their support. So to keep it, she began to question her dream, and her judgment.

Before she gave up on her dream, Deborah called me for support, and to help sort out her thoughts and feelings. We began to sift through her fears, one by one, and first decide which ones were truly hers, and which ones belonged to her family. Of the fears that were hers, we went through them one by one, to see if it was likely, and to make a plan to address it (or prevent it). As for the others, Deborah quickly tossed them aside, as not hers to address.

Then we talked about how to move forward. We talked about others in her support system that she could contact. We talked about who she could celebrate with, who she could brainstorm problems and solutions with, and who she could be encouraged by. And we talked about where her family fit into her support system for now, and going forward.

Have you ever had a dream that you were really excited about? Not just a dream, but concrete actions plans to make it all happen? You were ready to go. You had taken the first small steps. You had done your research. You planned for every contingency you could think of. Then bam, out of nowhere, a dear family member or friend says to you, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. It will never work. You’ll just end up hurt.” Immediately you find you are disregarding all your research and hard work, and instead you are second guessing yourself and all your decisions as well as your ability to make decisions. What do you do? How do you deal with your fears? And how do you manage your support system? I’d love for you to share your story and experience with me on my blog below.

2 comments to Who is your support system supporting?

  • Great post. Thanks!

    Like you, I’ve been knocked off my rock by a family member or close friend making a comment or remark about career and other choices I’ve made or am about to make.

    I’m fortunate to have a strong support system of people outside of the “safety” zone – family and a few friends.

    When I hear a comment that sets me back, I catch my breath. Then I turn to my inner circles – those people who support my dreams and encourage me to take reasonable risks. I call a few and confirm I’m on the right path.

    I also talk with my coach and a couple of mentors.

    By reaching out and taking risks to communicate my deepest dreams and desires with trusted friends and assoicates, I’m able to break down the chains of the “safety stewards”.

    Thanks for posting this.

    • Thanks Denny!

      These are helpful suggestions on who to turn to for support. As you’ve indicated, it’s very important to establish a support system that supports your dreams, along with reasonable risks.

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Best,

      Lori

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