Remember that old-fashioned saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman”?
These days, of course, it’s just as likely to be a man behind the successful woman, but the meaning behind the saying is as true as ever.
Because if there’s one thing I know for certain: you’re only as successful as your support network.
Support often comes in the form of a business partner, someone who is as heavily invested in our success as we are.
Knowing that the other person is working just as hard, and was just as determined, is inspirational.
You tend to keep each other on track.
Sometimes support comes from a partner or friend who is not directly involved in the business but has your back regardless.
They become a sounding board, a mentor of sorts, and can often offer an unbiased opinion on business issues or decisions.
We all need other people to believe in us, to help nudge us over the line at crucial points.
Which is why your success depends on the answer to this very important question: “Do others want you to succeed”?
Most of us have some degree of control over the people we choose to work with, especially if you’re running your own business.
Some people may not seem like our champions at first, but because we develop a strong relationship with them over time they become advocates for what we do.
Nurture those relationships.
On the other hand, you may find some people don’t want you to succeed.
This may not be malicious, they just don’t have the same values as you, or are not as ambitious.
Perhaps their life is pre-occupied with other matters that you don’t know about, or they’re trying to find their own way in business.
It may be tempting to try and “win” these people over, but the older I get the more I realise that when someone shows you who they are, you need to believe them.
Yes, I know it sounds a bit corny, but it’s true.
You can’t please everyone and nor should you waste valuable time trying.
You might like someone who seems indifferent to you.
Don’t sweat it because that’s not where your opportunities lie.
Instead, focus on the people that seem to “get” you.
Respect those relationships and learn from those people because they often hold the key to the doors that open.
So how do you attract these support people in your life?
The first rule of thumb is to be the change you want to see in the world.
Yes, I know, another corny saying.
But it’s important that we treat others how we would like to be treated, so look for opportunities to support those people that you believe in.
Most likely, that support will be returned.
It’s important, too, to get out from behind your desk and network.
So much of our work is about staying on top of things and not enough people plan for the future.
But networking will ensure that we attract like-minded people and opportunities keep coming our way.
It also ensures that we don’t spend time around negative people.
Some people are destined to see grey clouds instead of silver linings so be sure to mix with the latter.
So be picky about who you spend your time with.
We need to teach our kids this as well as ourselves.
Before we let someone into our life we should ask ourselves whether they’re a positive or negative influence?
Do they inspire or depress us?
Are we going to learn a lot or be challenged by this person?
Because your future success and happiness depends on it.
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