Jul 09, 2020 | Your Relationships
Catherine A. Wood
Need more support? Try this.
The other morning, I had to laugh out loud at myself when I overheard that my better half had stepped into the bathroom and I realized why I’d been listening. I slipped into our bedroom…
(quickly and quietly so that I could… any guesses?;)
…so that I could make the bed before he, in trying to be helpful, could do so himself. And if I’m being completely honest with you, so that I could make the bed perfectly and in the same way I’d been making beds for the past 30+ years since I first began working at my parent’s Bed & Breakfast.
You might ask, so what does this have to do with me. Great question!
Here’s the thing, what’s your relationship to support? At home? In your business?
Are you practiced at asking your partner to help with tasks around the house? AND allowing them to follow through on your request?
Do you have a team of employees or contractors in your business that you successfully empower to take things off your plate? AND you fully trust them to follow through?
If you do, and are pleased with the level of support you’ve created in your life, then I applaud you.
In my experience, that is NOT the case for most folks I speak with.
Most of my clients truly want more support, from their partners or the individuals they hire, but they are challenged in getting that need met.
They know that in order to up level, they need to delegate.
They know that in order to be more present at home, they need to not be the one to handle everything.
They know that in order to grow and be a better leader, they need to stop being the one who must have their hands in every pot!
Sure, we feel resentful at times towards our partners, our spouses, and our colleagues that “for some ungodly reason, why are WE the ones who have to do everything around here?!”
Or, sure we delegate tasks to our staff, but why is that “we are always the ones to catch their mistakes, and left feeling like we MUST always be double checking their work?!”
Or one I hear often, sure we know we’ve reached the breaking point in our businesses where we can’t grow if we don’t uplevel our support structures, but why is it that “as soon as we hire someone who meets ALL our set criteria, we immediately begin to doubt ourselves and our hiring decision.”
Here’s the thing:
Most of us gain something from being the one to do everything.
I know that for me, I’ve often asked myself over the years “how can I let go of control and not need others to do everything the exact way I would and instead choose to trust and assume the best with my team?”
But the truth of the matter is that I have felt a sense of self-worth from always being the one to save the day. I get to busy myself with tasks and feel good about myself for my results! That’s a pretty incentivizing reason.
I know for some of my clients, they’ve ‘successfully’ avoided growing beyond some of their default patterns of being the one to do everything in order to avoid:
Not looking bad from making a mistake…
Fear of offending or disappointing others…
Being lied to or having their trust broken…
Not getting things perfect…
I’m being a tad facetious, but I think you can see where I’m going here.
In Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most, the authors share that we must find the courage to ask for help. They explain, “for many of us, that’s not easy. Our Identity Conversation tells us loud and clear that asking for help is not okay — that it is shameful or weak and creates burden on others.” One common response I hear is a fear of trusting others to do the job like I would have done it.
We all make asking for support mean something about ourselves, both from an empowering perspective and a disempowering one.
Like everywhere in life, we get to choose through which vantage point, we wish to relate to things.
Allowing support is a practice over a perfect.
I often find with clients that when they get to that point of “needing” to allow support, that it sometimes goes awry before it goes well.
I’m a great example of that. With my first big overhaul of my website (my first big-ticket investment in my business) for example, I hired a designer I was nervous to work with but chose to hire her anyway because I loved her design work.
If I had only known then what I know now, I never would have hired her. She wasn’t reliable from day one and her own lack of a website should have sent me running the opposite direction…
But I did, and that $6,500 mistake taught me once and for all the importance of following my intuition in business and that if fear of making the wrong personnel choice was driving my thinking throughout the entire process, then I likely will make the wrong decision.
I may be oversimplifying this, but I believe that we attract what we focus on. In business, in love and in life. I still remember my first relationship when I lived in the Dominican Republic. I was absolutely infatuated with my then boyfriend and similarly terrified that he wasn’t trustworthy. While I don’t blame myself for his inability to be faithful, had I taken the hint earlier that my constant fear of him cheating on me was any indication, I could have saved myself years of heartbreak.
But, I think it’s an invaluable lesson we all must learn. We all have the capacity to allow wonderful support structures in our lives. We all deserve to be fully supported in our businesses, so that we can share the full expression of our gifts and talents with the world.
And we all must be more committed to our own growth and development, than continuing to do things the way we’ve always been doing them.
Today, I will leave you with one practice that totally changed my life as you look to transform your relationship with support and uplevel your own support structures.
One of my favorite practices from my coach revolved around upleveling support. One day, I got on my coaching call flustered by how much I had to do and my seeming shortage of time to get it all done. My coach reflected to me that it made complete sense as I had massively upleveled my ceiling in my projects and in what I was up to in the world, but I hadn’t raised my floor. I offer to you the same practice she left me with that day.
Take out a piece of paper and create two columns. In the first column, list all the areas in your life where you could use more support. This is not the time to be practical or reasonable, dream as big as you can here! I have never been to a drybar in my life and I literally wrote a monthly blowout on my list. Then in the second column, identify a “what by when” for each of those items you listed in the first column. List a specific action you will take and by when in the second column.
These days, I deeply appreciate my partner’s efforts to help make the bed. I can even appreciate that the throw pillows aren’t centered and that the wrinkles are mostly flattened out.
And on the mornings that I can’t, like that morning this week, at least now I recognize that the support is 100% there and if I don’t accept it because my chambermaiding days get the best of me, at least I can recognize that that one is fully on me!
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