When Important People Don’t Support You.

Women linking their arms together

I Googled “Show me your network…” and here’s what popped up to complete the sentence:

…I’ll show you your potential

…I’ll show you your future

…I’ll show you your net worth

Clearly, the internet knows a lot about something we’ve always intuited: the people we surround ourselves with impact our ambitions, aspirations, and confidence.  

What do we do, then, when the people we’re surrounded by aren’t awesome? In fact, the people we’re surrounded by might be holding us back?

Here’s what that might look like:

  • Our partner doesn’t support our desire to change – whether that’s moving to a new area, going back to school, or switching companies.  
  • Our boss just doesn’t like us, and our colleagues are ruthless – we get overlooked for high-visibility projects and we just don’t feel like we’re getting a fair shot at success.  
  • Our friends are disappointed by our wellness goals – they taunt and tease us for hitting the gym over going to the bar.

Does any of this sound familiar? Before you jettison key people from your life, try these tactics:

  • Be Accountable. First, do people in your life know you’re not feeling supported? Do they even know your goals, and your plan to achieve them? My guidance: make sure you’ve let them into what’s on your heart, in your mind. Let them know how important your goals and ambitions are to you, and what you need from them in regards to support. Don’t have stealth expectations – have clear expectations.
  • Be the Change. We spend so much time wishing that other people will change to accommodate us – here’s the deal: they won’t. If you want people to change, don’t put your effort and energy on hoping they’ll change – you have to change. When you change, everything changes. Plus, you can’t change other people. You can only change you.
  • Put Up Some Clearer Boundaries, especially what’s acceptable and unacceptable in a relationship. I’ve had to say goodbye to some very important people in my life because they kept disrespecting my boundaries. It’s not an easy thing to do, but when you know what your boundaries are and know when they’re being violated, the decision is clear.
  • Repopulate Your Network. Maybe it’s time to get a network refresh? Start by assessing who in your community you can count on for support, and then think of people you’d like to build relationships with. Just this act alone can inspire a whole new way of being.
  • Be Prepared to Say Goodbye. There’s a reason and a season for certain relationships. Maybe a certain friendship has run its course. But don’t give up on a person before you’ve done the work. If you’ve been accountable to your role in the relationship, and you’re still not getting the support you need, then think about what a transition looks like. Don’t make a hasty decision, especially in a serious relationship.  

Bottom line: we need people. The people we surround ourselves with are important. And the people who don’t support us? We need to make sure that they have a minimal impact on our goals, dreams, and desires. Remember: it’s not selfish to be ambitious.

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