Who’s on your side? The importance of relationships to help you get ahead.

As you’re here, reading this blog, I’m going to surmise a few things about you. 1. You’re highly capable 2. You’re ambitious for your career and 3. You’re looking for a successful balance in your work and home life. 

How did I do?

If those statements resonate with you, then firstly, let me welcome you. You’re definitely in the right place. The Babyproof community is here to help you achieve your potential and find joy and success in both your working and family lives. Secondly, let me empathise with you. I know exactly how you feel! I started my career and family working in corporate law, and understand the challenges you face in forging a successful path for yourself and your family. It can sometimes feel quite daunting and lonely, trying to fulfil your dreams while contemplating life as a high-flying working mum. But it’s certainly possible – and this is where this week’s blog comes in. 

Although it often feels as though it’s you against the world, I’d like to show you that that’s definitely not the case. Human beings are designed to be highly social and cooperative – that (and our big brains!) is the true secret of our success. Our ability to make meaningful relationships with people around us is proven to be beneficial in all sorts of ways – from giving us greater purpose, reducing stress, providing us with emotional support and love, to helping us adopt healthier behaviours and even living longer! Most of us understand this very well on a personal level. But how well do you use the power of relationships to help you succeed in your ambitions for achieving your potential and a balanced work and family life?

Perhaps not as well as you should do.

There is a wise old African proverb which ends “if you want to go far, go together” – and that is what I would like  you to think about when you consider your wider goals and ambitions this year.  You need not be alone on your journey. Think about the relationships you already have and the people who are around you. Are there people supporting you that you didn’t even realise? Are there people around you who could and would do more to support you if they knew that you needed it? Are there new relationships you could make that could ease the stresses in your life, or provide you with the guidance/motivation you need to help you progress further?

Consider this as we head into 2020 – who is on your side and are you making the most of these relationships?

I find it helpful to think of the relationships I have or (could/should have) in different groups.  

1. Supporters
This group is the hub of all our relationships. Our partners, family and close friends are our greatest champions – always around, bigging us up, listening to our woes, loving us, providing emotional support and comfort, as well as practical help.
Tip: Think about your closest relationships. Sometimes we take them for granted, or expect our nearest and dearest to be mind readers. Do you need to communicate more with your partner to find a more equal or compatible way of working and/or parenting together? Are there any reciprocal arrangements you could strike up with friends or family that might help ease the burden – with childcare, for example? Could confiding more in your close friends (even if they are not in the same profession) help you gain perspective on your work/life and reduce any anxieties you might have?

2. Facilitators.
You may not have thought too much about this group of relationships. So many of the high-achieving women I coach do not give these relationships enough attention – they feel they should be able to do everything by themselves in order to be truly worthy and successful. Not true! The relationships you forge in this group can play a huge part towards you achieving the balance you need to make your career and family lives work together. This group covers all those people who enable you to do your job at a consistently high level and run your family successfully; cleaners, babysitters, au pairs, fitness trainers, dog walkers, tradespeople, etc.
Tip: There is no shame in hiring people to help you carry out key tasks to make your life run more smoothly. No one can do everything – there is no such thing as a superwoman. It makes more sense for you to spend your time doing what you do best, and outsourcing other tasks to people who could do them better and more efficiently than you. Foster these facilitating relationships and you will remove a lot of stress and overwhelm from your life.

3. Visionaries.
This group of relationships can be invaluable to you for providing you with the knowledge, advice, motivation, contacts and opportunities you need to progress in your career. These people can include mentors, role models, coaches and sponsors and seeking out and investing in these relationships can really make a difference to your career success.
Tip: It’s worth the effort! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need just one of these relationships  to help you progress at work. These roles are subtly different and each can play an important part in helping you get ahead. A coach can help you see your potential and stretch yourself to achieve it, a role model can inspire you, a mentor can advise and guide you, while a sponsor can provide you with tangible contacts and opportunities. See who’s around you and seek out people who could fulfil these roles. Put effort into finding and maintaining these relationships.  

Once you realise that there are people around you who have your back, who are there supporting you, facilitating your life and showing you the way – your ambitions and goals seem that much more achievable. No (wo)man is an island. Invest in your relationships today for balance and success tomorrow.  If you’d like more information on my ‘Having it all’ coaching programme, email me at Caroline@babyproofyourlife.com