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Getting Support for Your Goals Starts with Mindfulness
By Jennifer Lee
Whether you’re running a creative business, following your big dreams, or simply navigating your daily life, it can be tough going it alone. Having partners and allies can help lighten your load and make your journey even more enjoyable. But sometimes it can feel even harder to ask for help than to just do the work yourself.
So how can you create a solid support structure in your personal and professional life?
Start with mindfulness. Become aware of what you want and need. When you’re present to yourself, you can be present to other people. Mindfulness will facilitate healthier relationships and will create more ease and flow as you move toward your goals.
If you’ve ever felt burnt out, stuck, or resentful it’s probably because you’ve been doing everything for other people without pausing to think whether it’s what you really want to do, or if it even fits in with your bigger vision of your work and home life. Rather than operate on autopilot, practice mindfulness and learn to get support for your own hopes and dreams.
One stressed-out and overcommitted client yearned to reconnect with her creative spirit and find more meaningful work. She began by building a creative space in her bedroom to focus on her art. Next, she started asking her family, coworkers, and friends for help so that she could stay committed to her creativity. For example, she asked her business partner to handle a few tasks for their client. She asked her mom for help planning activities for the whole family to do together. She sought out mentors to teach her on her creative journey. It wasn’t easy at first, but with practice, she’s tuning into what’s most important to her, she’s communicating more clearly and directly with the people in her life, and she’s feeling more fulfilled as she moves toward her own big dream.
Here are some simple, mindful ways to get support for your goals:
Begin with your relationship with yourself. Carve out quiet time to reflect on what you want in life. What’s most important to you? What would bring you joy and contentment? What do you want more of in your life? You could even create a collage to help you connect with that vision. Ask yourself what you need to do to make your vision real. Identify what you can do on your own and where you could use someone else’s assistance.
Be clear about who would be the perfect person to help you with the things you can’t do on your own. If you already know whom to ask, great, go ahead and ask her. If not, ask yourself what are the types of qualities and experience this person might possess? What is her working style? What are her values and how do they align with yours? Get out your journal and write about this perfect person as if you’ve already been working with her for a while. Describe what you enjoy most about your relationship.
Once you’ve identified what you need help with and who to ask, make a clear, direct request. The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll get the support you need. For example you might send a message out to your colleagues and ask, “Will you review my draft proposal and give me feedback on its scope and tone by June 1?” People will know exactly how to help you.
Know what you bring to the table. What can you offer in return? How can you be of service to the other person? What resources, skills, experience, or connections can you share? Remember that relationships are give and take. Be generous but don’t feel like you need to over accommodate.
Keep lines of communication open and make sure you give specific feedback to the person helping you. Pay attention to what’s really working in the relationship. For example, let your accountant know how much you appreciate his expert help with your taxes. Let him know what you love about working with him.
Be willing to have a tough conversation. If your relationship hits a bump in the road, make sure you address the issue early on. Letting tension build will only make things more uncomfortable, especially if you have more work to do together. If things can’t be resolved after talking it through, don’t be afraid to move on. It may feel like an awkward “break up,” but be willing to start looking again if it’s not working out. Don’t settle. You’ll be much happier when you find the right person to help you.
Check in with yourself regularly. Take three deep breaths and then ask yourself, “How am I right now? What do I need?” Your goals and needs may shift over time, so make adjustments accordingly.
By practicing these simple steps of mindfulness, you’ll not only become clearer about where you are now and where you want to go, you’ll also foster healthy relationships along the way. Your solid support structure will keep you moving toward your goals with ease as you deepen connections with yourself and others.
Jennifer Lee, founder of Artizen Coaching, spent a decade climbing the corporate ladder before pursuing her own creative dreams. Through her popular workshops, coaching practice, and writing, she empowers others to follow their passions She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her website is www.artizencoaching.com.
Based on the book The Right-Brain Business Plan. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Lee. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.
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