Navigating life’s inherent challenges can seem overwhelming. To complicate things more, at times, it might feel like you are taking the world on alone. The best buffer? Building and maintaining a support network. Here’s some steps to do just that.
A support network can provide emotional comfort and practical assistance during challenging times, reducing feelings of isolation and stress. It can also offer different perspectives and advice, aiding in problem-solving and decision-making processes. Moreover, a robust support network can encourage personal development and growth, reinforcing positive behaviors and providing motivation and accountability when striving to achieve goals.
One unique exercise is called the Board of Directors. Similar to large companies, a personal board of directors can serve to advise, challenge, and support you along your journey. Your role is the CEO of your own business seeking personal happiness, well-being, and satisfaction. The first step of putting this into action is recruiting board members – here’s how:
- Assess your biggest needs – Start by listing off your five biggest needs/challenges — things that are potentially holding you back in your life and turn them into simple goal statements (i.e. Develop an understanding of the things I need to do as a new homeowner or How to transition to being a first time parent). Be honest with yourself!
- Identify prospects – Once you have a good sense of your needs, think of what would support you most. Start with your inner circle . Reach out to family and close friends who you trust and feel comfortable with. Think of a fellow co-worker, a neighbor, a religious figure, or friend – you name it. List them out. Strive for diversity in background. The more perspective you have, the better the advice.
- Map it out – Draw a large boardroom table on a sheet of paper with seats and put yourself at the head. Then start to place your board members at the other seats and reach out to your support network when needed.
- Make the ask and be specific – Once you have a diversified list, reach out and be clear on how you would like to engage them. Be honest about the kind of support you’re looking for, whether it’s advice, a listening ear or practical help. Some examples include:
- “Can we connect every six months for an update and discussion on my future career?”
- “Would we be able to chat about parenting techniques that have/are working for you?”
- “Would you be able to share a few basic tips on maintaining your home?
- Constantly evaluate – Our needs and desires change. Evaluate the composition of your personal board often to determine what type of individuals will help you succeed at the next stage of your life. It’s important that you treat your board as a dynamic entity.
- Stay Engaged – Find a way to remain connected with your Board of Directors, even when things are going well. For example, send them a personal update every six months. Mentors really appreciate getting these updates and often can offer helpful unsolicited advice and/or connections for the next step on your journey. Genuine connections require ongoing attention and care.
The keys to well-being are being proactive and staying positive. Building a support network takes time and positive energy. Be patient with the process and maintain a positive outlook. So, whether this is already part of your day-to-day or something that seems more in the future, taking steps now can aid you in achieving your best self.
*If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, request an appointment with one of our professional mental health providers at Diversus Health today. If you need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.