Shot of two young designers brainstorming together in an office
Almost every day I pinch myself at how lucky I am. The thing that continually makes me feel so fortunate is the support I have in my life. Here are my tips on how to set up powerfully supportive relationships in your life.

Your Top Two Needs
Think about your strengths and challenges. For example, a strength for me is seeing different perspectives. My challenge is being direct.

We grow the most when we get support in our areas greatest strength and greatest weakness. We want someone, who recognizes what this strength can do, to encourage us to leverage our gift and bring it fully. We also want someone, who is well developed where we are weak, to show us what we might be missing and help us embody that quality.

Reach Out Now   
Make a short list of people you know who are strong in your area of strength, and a second list of people strong in your area of weakness. The most durable support relationships will be a mutual exchange, so, as you review each list, put them in order of people to whom you sense you may also have something to give.

Now comes the hard part: making that call or sending that email to invite a conversation about being a support person for you. It works best to find at least two people, one leveraging your strength the other growing your weakness.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me of the amazing responses they get. Everyone fears that they will meet resistance and rejection, and what they get is people honored to be asked. So make the damn call! A typical arrangement is a half hour call once a month, probably 15 minutes getting support and 15 minutes giving it.

The Content Of Your Conversations
Here’s a structure you can try. If you find something that works better for you, do that instead.

Start each conversation with a check-in. Tell your support person how you have grown in that quality since you last talked.

Second, have them ask you questions about your experience so you can learn more about what worked and what didn’t and why.  

Third, have them offer any reflections that they have on your experience. Then ask them to share stories from their own life that relate to how you are currently developing.

Fourth, set a new plan of action for the next month.

Remember that the goal of the meetings is to grow your highest and lowest qualities over time, so have a review with each other every three months to make sure that the meetings are as useful as they can be.
I would love to hear about your adventures in getting the support you need.