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Excerpt
The following is an excerpt from the book Unstoppable Women:
Achieve Any Breakthrough Goal in 30 Days
by Cynthia Kersey
Published by Rodale; April 2005; $15.95US/$22.95CAN; 1-59486-104-8
Copyright 2005 Cynthia Kersey

Unstoppable Action
Create a Support Team

The story of Jean Renfro Anspaugh is a clear example of how surrounding ourselves with supportive people provides a powerful structure for creating change in our lives. While it may not be practical to drop everything and move across the country as Jean did, it is important that we spend time with people who provide encouragement and support us in our efforts to lift ourselves higher.

Do you have that kind of support team in your life? Do you have a community to rely on, where you gain and give support and encouragement? To successfully complete this Unstoppable Women Challenge and move on to even bigger changes, it's important to surround yourself with people who understand the road you're on and encourage you to continue.

The first step in building your support team is to assess the people in your life. This is important because the people you spend the most time with not only play a role in furthering or hindering your goals, but they're also the people you tend to emulate. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have demonstrated that associating with successful people improves performance and increases the chance of success. Conversely, associating with unsuccessful or unimaginative people is counterproductive.

Rate the amount of support you get from those closest to you.
In your journal, make a list of the 10 people who are most involved in your life. This could include a spouse, children, co-workers, neighbors, or friends. Next, rate them from 1 to 10:

  • 10 = Someone who makes you feel great about yourself, builds you up, and is totally supportive of your goals.
  • 1 = Someone who discourages you, tears you down, or provides no moral support.

After making your list and rating the people, add up your ratings and divide by the number of people on your list to get an average rating. If your average score is 5 or below, half your time is spent with people who drain your positive energy and discourage your dreams. Your goal should be to raise that average to an 8 or 9.

Even though you can't eliminate some people from your life, you can minimize your interaction with them. You can also set up boundaries for what is acceptable feedback regarding your goals. If there are certain subjects that you feel are off limits, tell them so. Don't allow yourself to engage in conversations about your goals with people who you know will provide negative feedback. If they can't provide balanced feedback, don't have the conversation.

At the same time, you can offset any negative influence by associating with people who encourage you and provide a positive example. This is your support team.

Make the Most of Your Relationships
To create the best possible support team, try the following tips:

  • Build more relationships that nourish and restore you -- with a coach, buddy, spiritual advisor, mentor, or role model. Spend time with people who will hold you to a higher standard.
  • Pay less attention to relationships that make it easy for you to maintain the status quo. Some friends will always tell you what you want to hear and let you get away with failure. Spend your time with friends who understand your goal and will help you grow.
  • Terminate negative relationships -- those focused on gossip, complaining, or making excuses. They aren't a good investment of your energy.
  • Intentionally open yourself to meeting new people.
  • Get buy-in from your family. If you can help your family members see how your goal directly benefits them, you'll get more of their support. For example, if you're going back to work, you can point out that the money you make will help pay for a nice family vacation.
  • Continue to support your buddy. Share your daily insights and draw strength from each other. This not only provides accountability structure, but it makes the process more fun and enjoyable.
  • Finally, use the support you have been given to help someone else on their journey. By building relationships based on mutual support for each other's goals, you'll both benefit. 

Copyright 2005 Cynthia Kersey