Creating Support Structures
Support is not just for emergencies.
You can approach support two ways: crisis-mode (you reach out in emergencies, to people who barely know you), or by creating support structures that you consistently participate in and help you to thrive every day (and help you prevent crisis).
A support “structure” is something you set up to receive support from the same folks over time. It makes receiving support more consistent, and lets you develop trust and deepen in knowledge of each others’ businesses.
Before I list my reasons, I want to make a special point about “accountability”. This is a word used a lot with MasterMind groups and other support structures. I’m not a fan of accountability as the #1 reason for support. This sets up our would-be friends and supporters as our cops or watchmen. They can be much more than that. Here’s my top 10 list of benefits (in no particular order):
10 reasons to create support structures
- It’s (way) more fun with friends
- Others act as mirrors – seeing and reflecting our blind spots
- Seeing problems from different perspectives
- Wisdom and resources from people who have been through similar things
- Feedback from people who know you well and care about you
- Watching people grow over time (and helping them) feels warm and fuzzy
- Brainstorming and idea generation
- Creative collaboration
- Referrals to and from
- People to celebrate successes with!
Sounds fun right! I made this list based on everything I’ve gotten out of my Mastermind groups over the past few years.
Examples of support structures
|Peer Dynamic||Mastermind Group||Business Buddy|
Group Led by Coach
|Coach or Mentor|
- consists of 3-6 people who get together weekly, biweekly, or monthly
- usually made up of people in different industries but in a similar stage of their business
- each person takes a turn getting feedback on a particular issue
- a business partner or friend who is in the same or similar industry.
- someone you can talk about the day to day technicalities of your industry
- you know each other’s business really well and feel collaborative with them
Class or Coach-led Group
- you receive instruction and advice from the leader, while also interacting with a peer group to learn together
- can vary widely in structure
- someone who is further along in your industry or in business in general
- someone you want to emulate (don’t choose a mentor whose business setup you wouldn’t want)
- you can get coached, or just follow and learn by example
There is also a spectrum of investment.
Time: this can range from meeting one time for an hour to meeting daily, weekly, or monthly…for 6 weeks, a year, a decade, or more.
Depth: some relationships stay fairly shallow and “professional”. Some grow into friendships and partnerships, where business topics mingle with personal journeying and discovery.
Where do I find these folks?
Wherever business owners hang out: networking groups, Biznik, Facebook, Twitter, professional organizations. Your friends and colleagues.
Get clear on what you want and invite it into your heart. Take time to build the relationship and make sure it is a good fit.
What makes a good support relationship?
- You share the same values and are in the same or similar “tribe”.
- You trust them and feel safe with them (you have to show them your messy insides for this to work!).
- Each of you is committed to the relationship and the process.
- Each of you has the ability to communicate clearly and work through differences or sticky spots constructively.
- You each are on the same page with the structure of what you do together.
- You each feel collaborative rather than competitive toward each other.
- Each of you is committed to your own personal growth.
You need different support at different times.
There’s no blueprint for everyone and all time. My goal is to help you understand all the options so you can find support that feels right and helps you in all the ways you need.
You might start out with a class, and then find you want the ongoing support of a group. Or you may have a group you love but sometimes supplement it with the focused help of a coach. As your needs evolve and change over time, reassess what you need and find new sources of support.
Give yourself what you need to thrive–there is no reason to struggle by yourself. No matter where you are in your journey, there is someone who can light the way forward.
Make your support-structure goal to thrive.
When you set up your group or support relationship, you can set an intention or purpose for it. I suggest you choose “to thrive” as your goal. It’s about more than money and clients–it’s whole-body happiness.
To be in business means you are constantly offered the opportunity to stretch yourself and grow. You are also constantly offered the temptation to stagnate or operate from fear. We’re only human. Support from others who are also committed to doing well makes the difference between surviving and thriving. I believe business owners needs consistent support. Personally, it tipped my scales to make business not just fascinating but also fulfilling.