Earlier this month I joined a coaching training class. Coaching is something I’ve become interested in over the past year. Upon reflection I realized that one thing I’ve always enjoyed is teaching and sharing. That is part of what I hope I do with this blog. When I worked as a speech-language pathologist, the one part of the job I really enjoyed was teaching and training the staff.
The first topic in the coaching class focused on support which naturally made me think about how support is essential to our creativity, to our businesses, and well, just about anything we pursue in life. This includes not only external support from friends, mentors, coaches, and family, but internal support within ourselves.
I recall when working in healthcare that I often felt minimally supported in my job. This may have been due to the various managers I encountered, some who were better than others. Or the fact that I was often the only speech therapist on the team where it was common to have multiple physical or occupational therapists in the department. Finally, it also could have been due to my own inability to seek out support at various times.
I’ve also realized, as I write this, one other thing that I remember about my days in healthcare that may have influenced the support issue: we did, quite frankly, complain a lot. We commiserated quite a bit and I’m not sure how often we really celebrated our successes. So how can someone feel supported if one of the things that binds us together is complaining?
But I digress.
Support has several definitions: to bear the weight of; to hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping; to be capable of bearing; to keep from failing or yielding during stress; to provide for or maintain by supplying money or necessities; to aid the cause of by approving, favoring, or advocating; to endure, tolerate.
Wow! No wonder we sometimes have difficulty supporting ourselves and one another. Support can be a heavy burden to bear.
Since leaving the structured life of working in a cubicle or office and turning to my art full time I have found more support in this community than I ever thought possible. I know some will debate this opinion, yet overall, I’ve found artists to be a supportive lot. I wonder if this is because many of us work in isolation. So when we gather in small or large groups we want to learn what each other is doing, how someone solved a particular problem, and to share resources.
I find that self-support is sometimes harder because of the negative or ego voice that likes to make itself known. My friends can tell me I’m doing great but if I don’t believe that myself all their support can be for naught (or at least that is what the negative ego voice would like me to believe.) On the other hand, it is those same friends who can kick my butt and, in the words of Mary Englebreit, tell me to “snap out of it.” I love my friends and family who have my back and who don’t let my pity parties turn in to extravagant balls.
So here is one of the questions, slightly paraphrased, for you: What kind of support do you need? Pick one area and think about how you can help yourself and what help others may have to offer. What small thing(s) can you do to better support your creative life?
And enjoy this John Cleese video on creativity.