Who is in the arena with you? Who is on your team?

January 26th, 2016 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

Who’s got your back?


I have been reading Brené Brown, again, and this time her concept of supportive friendship struck me. We, you and I, all need people who “have our back”. Brené writes about those friends you know will be there, who won’t spill your secrets, but also who will hold you accountable. The listeners, supporters and the challengers. You do not need many of these kind of friends, but you need a few, as life is transient and in a transient society, people come and go, and move away. Often. So, who’s got your back?


Let’s look at this carefully:


The listeners: You need someone with whom you can have mutual listening and sharing, those with whom you express mutual empathy. I just had a conversation with a friend who is starting up a company and we discussed how hard it is for men (he is a man) to be open and vulnerable. Our social norms “train” men (and nowadays women) business leaders to be tough, but in the end it is not good for the person or the business. The leaders have been trained to avoid asking for help when it is needed. This lack of vulnerability is actually detrimental to business leading. We all need to be able to ask for and to offer help.


The supporters: We want someone with us in that scary arena, the metaphor that Dr. Brown uses for those of us seeking to do something, to be leaders, to make a way in this world. Those people with us are our supporters. Who do you have that will get out there and support you, and not either leave you in the lurch or tell people your secrets. These are those people who tell you that you can do it! You can, of course do it, but we need each other to make it, in a supportive environment. These friends also may give you just the contact or resource you need, not because it will help them, but it will help you succeed. These people are real friends.


The challengers: Our supportive friends also need to be those who kick us in the butt when it is needed and send us out into that arena again after we have blown it, or life has been hard. It’s those of you, of us, who get back up and brush ourselves off and get back in that arena who win. You and I can, but the ones who tell us that truth are those people we need around us. Who do you have that says, like the proverbial boxing coach, “Get out there and win!”?


What’s next? So, spend some time this week thinking about who has your back, and who you can trust. Then make the effort and tell that person thank you. Reach out and be that kind of friend, too.


Patricia Jehle www.jehle-coaching.comgladiator_arena_hdr-t2


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