I speak a lot in my presentations about support networks and the importance of knowing who the five people are that you love, trust and know you could turn to for support and advice if things in your life went pear shaped. This could be anyone, your Wife or Partner, Mum or Dad, Brother, Sister Family, Friends, your GP, as long as you know who they are and preferably as part of enacting your “personal self-care plan” you have let them know they are your support network before the situation arises that you have to call on them. Because let’s face it, crap happens in our life from time to time and when under pressure, your judgment can be a little clouded and decision making can be impaired especially if you are also dealing with a mental illness or your world is crashing down around your feet. You need to know who can really be there for you.
Being a mental health speaker and advocate, when I talk about having a support network, I am talking about it in that context, but I often share this story, a story which demonstrates that regardless of the situation it is important to know when you back is against the wall you know who you can rely on.
The story is about a mate of mine, a mate who had built a very successful business across Australia and a vital lesson he learned. While building that business my mate had accumulated a lot of business acquaintances and friends, people are attracted to success and what success brings, it just human nature. That poses another question, what is success? I might leave that for another blog topic. My mate lived the high life that came with his success, and probably to his own admission, got caught up in it, until one day it all started to fall around his feet. Due several circumstances, most of which I don’t know, they are not important, I’m a mate, he lost everything, and the business was wound up. It was in the final days of that process of losing everything and everything being repossessed that we spoke on the phone. My mate was an avid kite surfer, and, on that day, he was calling from his car, overlooking his favorite beach. Ironically, He said there was a bit of a storm rolling in making for perfect kite surfing conditions. He had the kite in the boot and he was going to go for one last ride. He explained that the next day everything was being repossessed, including his car and his kite. It was at that point he explained how different that the day was from the day before and how it emulated his current situation and shared the analogy he had taken from it. The day before was sunny and calm and the beach was full of beachgoers not unlike when his business was booming, he was surrounded by people all wanting to be friends and bask in the sunshine of success. But on that day, we spoke, as the storm rolled in, the beach was nearly deserted, only a few were out and prepared to face the storming conditions with him, again not unlike the situation he found himself in. With the collapse of his business all the so-called friends had deserted him, he said to me on the phone he had learned a very important life lesson, he realised his life had been full of Fair Weathered Friends and now he knew who was his real Support Network.
After reading this I want you to write down five people, that you love, trust and know you could turn to for support and advice if things in your life went pear shaped and contact them, let them know they are your support network and you will be the same for them.