Who’s in your team?

Nov 16, 2011

I received some excellent advice recently and want to share it with anyone who’s trying to make a difference—trying to influence the course of their life, their work, their community, their family, etc.

Ask yourself: “Who’s got your back? Who’s on your side? Who’s in your team?”

I’m not talking about Seth Godin’s “tribes,” which tend to be much larger and less intimate in scope.

I mean, who are the people you want to work with for the rest of your life—who are empathic, supportive, smart, responsive, share your values, know how to get things done, who you like to be with and who you want to help win.

Letting other people into our lives isn’t necessarily an automatic or easy step for many of us. Especially those of us who are working really hard to come across as professional, knowing our stuff, got it under control. We don’t necessarily realize that this drive to be seen in a certain way leads us toward isolation, disengagement, and feeling unsupported, unseen or rarely acknowledged for our hard work. It can feel less than happy inside.

So, if you recognize these effects . . . it’s a worthwhile question – who’s in your team? (Borrowing  from Stanier again), here are two very practical steps:

Step 1. Identify

There are three types of people you might consider inviting in your inner circle:

1.    People who love you – those who’ll stand by you no matter what; happy to pick up the YOU banner and wave it with all their might.

2.    People with skills to help you – in this ultra-connected world, there are extraordinary people with skills and talents and insights who can help you. Six degrees of separation? These days it’s closer to two or three degrees. You have a global reach now.

3.    People with power- those with resources, connections and influence; can help get stuff done.


Step 2. Invite

Knowing these people is nothing if you don’t connect with them, invite them in. Try this approach to building relationships:

  1. Contact people you identified from step 1. Spend time with them and ask them all kinds of open-ended questions, like, “How’s your work going?” “What practices and strategies keep you on track?” “Who’s in your team?” “How can I help you?”
  2. Find a buddy – this may just be the step that makes the most difference. Invite someone in on a very regular basis to help you change and shape and craft and live a better life.


End note:  I personally discovered a great turn-around recently when I began reaching out, establishing contact, and letting people “in” to my bogged down head.  The great lesson for me was that while trying to be a superhero, toughing it all out my own, I was hanging on to quite a bit of negative energy. Once I started releasing/sharing it, I found that there was room made for (hidden/suppressed) positive energy. And things turned around substantially. Hurray for discovering one’s “team,” connecting, sharing, and growing.

Cara Crisler
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