I have one of those big, life-changing decisions to make regarding my business. It's risky, going to take a lot of effort and involves moving in a new direction. I'm scared and uncertain as to what to do. As any change in my business impacts upon the home front, I float the new idea with my partner Caro.
The words “I've got an idea” are often met with horror. But when I present this latest idea, I get all the right signs that she is supportive such as “You'll be doing something you're good at” and “That would be great”. Then she hits me with the clanger: “But what about the other project you were going to do in the new year?”
In an instant my decision is made.
This is not the only time I have sought the counsel of my partner. As is the case for many soloists, my partner is part of my business support team - my sounding board, my ideas person and my reality check.
Her input gives me the perspective I need. For example, her question “How will this make money?” brings me back to the bottom line.
Similarly,“It's not really you” keeps me true to my self.
Then there’s “Oi, get away from that computer. We're going to the beach,” which keeps me balanced.
Caro is the one who asks “Do you really want to do that?” when I get swept up in another great idea for marketing, articles, colour scheme for a website or business development.
She’s a great help with boundaries, advising me when to say no and encouraging me to say yes. She humanises my grand ideas while reminding me of the big picture. She says the right things when plans go awry and is waiting with the champagne when they succeed.
She is my confidante, keeper of my fears and my debriefer. She is my manager, editor, personal assistant, business advisor, cultural advisor, courier, gofer, driver and event manager all rolled into one. She is a key member of my business support team and she does it all without acknowledgement or credit.
And she's not alone. There is a whole business support team of silent partners contributing to my success. They include:
My colleagues. I love the different perspectives of those who are taking parallel journeys to mine. Sometimes they have a simple How-To solution to my dilemma, other times they just ask the right questions.
My coach . 2007 was a coach-free year for me and I've really missed having that space to vent, explore, dream and have someone really listen to my hare-brained schemes without judging me.
My buddies. I've written previously about my Business Action Group (BAG) networking pals and have to say that it's wonderful having a group of people who often see way more potential in me than I do myself.
My friends. I don't talk shop with my friends besides the “How's it going? Yeah, good.” stuff. We've usually got so much else to talk about. But it's always nice when a friend will ask me how a particular project is going.
My family. Again, I don't talk to my family much about business, but one of the most helpful business conversations I've ever had was with my brother. He helped me see the other side of the storm when a business was closing.
My cat . Sometimes you need someone in your life who can't be reasoned with, who will demand attention and make sure you take a break from that pesky work stuff. An ever present reminder of balance – eat, sleep, stretch, minimise any activity which does not fulfil needs.
While many in business are quick to give advice, and sometimes you just want to be told what to do, I've found that the best support I've ever received is from those who have just listened.
I thank them all.
So, who do you talk to? Who is in your business support team?
“ While many in business are quick to give advice, and sometimes you just want to be told what to do, I've found that the best support I've ever received is from those who have just listened. ”