What support do you need to be successful?

I often hear people ask “What Support Do You Need to be Successful?” 

In this article we’ll talk about:

  • How some of the major movers and shakers in our world are supported
  • Different types of support professionals
  • The challenge of asking for and receiving more support
  • Why every little bit of additional support matters

In my coaching practice, I regularly give my clients the following truth bomb: You need at least three times as much support as you think you do. 

While this isn’t always easy to hear, it’s the truth. If you’re not making strides toward your objectives, you need additional reinforcement. Will this require you to go outside your comfort zone? Absolutely. The vast majority of people are not accustomed to asking for or receiving the amount of support they truly need to reach their goals. In fact, the idea of having a robust team behind you can initially seem excessive or even selfish. Furthermore, it can feel confronting to spend the money required to make sure you’re in the peak emotional, physical and mental shape required to succeed.

In truth, it’s worth it.

Look at any significant changemaker or leader in the world and you’ll see they have many people on speed dial and many different support structures. Need examples? 

  • Oprah Winfrey: As of 2012, more than 12,000 people worked for the O Empire. Not only that, Oprah has a generous budget to hire people who make sure she is feeling and looking fantastic. There’s her own coach, Martha Beck; the architect who designed her famous tub that was hand carved to fit her body; and the folks that make sure her hair and makeup is impeccable for her monthly photoshoots. That’s just to name a few…
  • Sir Paul McCartney: McCartney’s staff coordinates with each of the venues on his tours to make sure the star has what he needs. In his dressing room, McCartney requests six full and leafy floor plants; a long-stem arrangement of pink and white roses; a large arrangement of Casablanca lilies with lots of foliage; and an arrangement of Freesia flowers. No fur, leather or meat are allowed, either. McCartney is an avid supporter of animal rights.
  • The President of the United States: There’s no doubt that POTUS has one of the busiest schedules on the planet. Luckily, he can stay focused on the most important tasks because everything else is outsourced. The White House has nearly 100 permanent residence staffers, including a personal chef, housekeepers, valets and a personal trainer. My favorite POTUS support structure, however, is the red Presidential Call Button. Anytime the president needs something — from a Diet Coke to his favorite dessert — he pushes it and a staffer comes to check in.

Will Ferrell: To keep his creative juices flowing, Ferrell always requests a few key things in his dressing room. These include an electric mobility scooter, 1 fake tree on wheels, 1 rainbow (which can be painted on canvas), Guinness beer and peanut butter chocolate Zone Bars.

Why is this information relevant?

The diversity of support structures these well-known figures have drives home an important point: By having tons of support, these people are as ready as possible to do their work. It’s also worth highlighting how specific they’re willing to be with their requests. This level of authenticity with support requests is rare, yet people have so many different needs that we often do ourselves a disservice if we don’t reveal that we truly want. Why not ask for what would make you 100% set up for success?

You don’t need to be famous before you’re allowed to be exquisitely supported

When you increase your support — even incrementally — you can reap immediate benefits such as better work-life balance and greater overall satisfaction in your life or business. Over the years, I’ve seen people hire professionals including:

Life CoachesTherapistsBusiness CoachesExecutive CoachesBusiness Consultants
Personal chefsMassage therapistsTravel agentsParty plannersPersonal stylists
MentorsEditorsGhost writersBabysitters/Au PairsHome nurses
Physical therapistsPersonal trainersNutritionistsLawyersDog walkers
AccountantsBook keepersRecruitersPersonal assistantsExecutive assistants

Rarely do they employ one of the above service providers full time. Instead, they might have a personal chef come cook for their family once a week or increase the amount of massage they receive from once to two times per month (that’s 100% more massage!). If they have a big gig running a luxury retreat, they might hire a personal stylist to help pick out their outfits.

Wondering where you could use more support? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is causing me stress right now?
  2. What service provider could help me manage that?
  3. Is the potential outcome of getting this support worth it? 

Whether it’s hiring a coach to help you overcome overwhelm or hiring a baby sitter so you and your partner can have a date night each week, there can be major, reverberating benefits of investing in support. You may find that your feelings of goodwill in your marriage dramatically increase when you’re able to have fun together on a regular basis. Or that you’re better able to manage stress throughout the workweek when you’re consistently doing personal development work.

You can increase your support slowly

We are playing an infinite game, so be gentle with yourself. There is no rush to make sure your support structures are perfect. And no fair beating yourself up if you try something out, decide it’s not right and pivot to something else. If you are ultimately committed to having a life that runs smoothly, keep the larger goal in mind. Any short term setbacks are just lessons learned.

It’s always a work in progress

I recently got a poignant reminder to practice what I preach. After writing the first draft of my book Self Marriage is just two days, I hired a book consultant to support me on finishing the project.

“We’ll be done in one month,” I told him. 

The concerned look on his face made his next words unsurprising.

“Why don’t we give it three?” He asked, obviously trying to be diplomatic. “And you’re probably going to need more support.” 

Truth be told, I didn’t like this idea. I already had way more support than most people I know: a book consultant, my own coach, friends who could edit my work and the list went on. As we made our way through each chapter of the book, however, I realized that my momentum was slowing down. The longer I spent editing, the less efficient I became. 

Finally, I picked up the phone and called in reinforcements in the form of a book editor who came highly recommended. As soon as I paid her invoice, I felt relieved and excited. Getting more support infuses energy back into your endeavors.

A Final Word

Just as Oprah can’t cap her support as her business grows, neither can we say “that’s good enough!” as we face bigger and bigger challenges. We must have the grace and the courage to allow others in. This is part of the dharma for any creator. Can we learn to ask for and accept all that we need to make a difference in the world?

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