I could have ended up very differently to who I am today. Like many, I have stared adversity in the face and have managed to come out the other side relatively unscathed. And if you had asked me a year ago how I was able to overcome them, my answer would have been very simple. It was all me. I picked myself up and got through it all on my own. Had I said that, I would have been lying. At the time, I blindly believed that I was this fiercely independent person who didn’t need or want anyone else’s help. Whilst there is nothing wrong with being independent, there is also no shame in asking for help when you need it. This is a lesson that I struggled to learn in all aspects of my life, and it is still something I am working on to this day. But I would not be where I am without the help of others.
You may have heard the saying that it ‘takes a village’. There will undoubtedly be obstacles and various hurdles we need to overcome in our lives. It could be not getting the job you really wanted, being overlooked for an important project or a potential relationship falling through. In moments like these, it is important to have a support network in place. People you can rely on to help you get past these challenges, because it can be difficult to escape the negative energy that can come with a setback. You might feel like you can get through it on your own, and you might be able to but there is no harm in reaching out to get that extra boost in confidence and an outside perspective.
Who is in your support network?
Think about the people in your lives, your friends, your family and the people in your professional network. Now imagine you’ve been given some bad news, it has shaken your confidence and it has made you question everything. Who do you turn to? That question is very loaded, because of course it depends on the type of bad news. We have different networks for different purposes, and not everyone in our support network can provide support for the same things. For instance, if I had received negative feedback from a job interview I would seek comfort from my friends, but ultimately I would reach out to someone in my professional network to get tailored support on how to overcome it. Likewise, I wouldn’t reach out to someone in my professional network for relationship advice. By all means, there can be overlap but the point of this exercise is to think about who in your network would readily be able to and want to help you in times of distress.
If you struggled to think of a range of people in your life who could help with various challenges, it is never too late to cultivate and expand your network. Someone in your network can give you that much needed pep talk, and remind you that one setback does not mean you will never achieve your goals. Your support network can help you achieve your goals by sharing contacts, resources or life hacks. Or in personal matters, a shoulder to cry on. I’m not saying you need to go out and ambush the first person you see and demand they join your network. Far from it, I’m talking about developing real and authentic relationships that are reciprocal in nature. Just as you may call on someone in a time of need, you must be prepared to help in return. As for the people you did think of, cherish them, and remember to thank them for being there when you needed them the most.
I am extremely blessed to have an amazing group of friends and a supportive family, but I also know that there are people I can count on to give me advice or provide guidance on my career journey. I am still fiercely independent and my natural instinct is to do it on my own, but I’ve now reached a place in my life where I can realise when I need help and ask for it, before it’s too late. And that has been really important for me in learning how to deal with rejection, and seeing life beyond the fixed black and white notions I had convinced myself were facts.
Most things in life can become so much easier when we have someone else to share the burden with.