Have you ever been in the position of really needing someone you can count on? Who would you turn to in a crisis for support? I think we have all had that moment in our lives when we really need support from another human being. Whether it’s because of illness, loss of a job, death of a loved one or just because you did something really stupid!
As you read this, I challenge you to discover who you would place in the front row of this theatre we call “life”.
Recently I attended a seminar put on by Canadian Women in Communications and the speaker offered us this very same challenge. At first glance it seemed like an easy exercise…at …first…glance. Who would I put in my front row?
In theory your front row is comprised of people who will back you up no matter what. No questions asked, they have your back. This row could be as small as one single person. Someone who will stand by you as you take risks, no matter how silly they may seem at the time. It might surprise you that, many people you would think at first blush would be there, don’t make it into your front row…like family members… close friends and sometimes, just sometimes even your spouse or significant other. (By the way a little suggestion here … if your spouse does not make it into the front row…keep it to yourself or believe me you will have a whole other set of “exercises” to go through… this is the voice of experience speaking on that one!…just keep it to yourself.)
It may be easier for you to figure out who is in your second row first. This row should contain people who you are close to but for some reason or other didn’t make it in your front row. They may be family going through their own issues. They may be friends who are too busy with their own lives right now. They may be that one person at work you always have lunch with but never see after hours. These are people who are in your support network or people who can help you achieve your goals, but, it is the “for some reason or other” part you have to pay attention to. There is a lot of pressure in that front row and there are times when those people need to be let off the hook.
You’re your third row consists of people who you are not close but who will be helpful regarding information or other contacts so that you can reach your goals. These would be people who you don’t know well but have met through your networking channels. Personally, I have several of these groups. I belong to HAPPEN, a group for people in transition, WIFT – Women In Film and Television, CWC – Canadian Women in Communication and of course First Oakville Toastmasters.
How many of you have heard of LinkedIn? This is a new internet networking tool for business people. Yes, you actually meet and have professional relationships on line! I must admit at first I was a little skeptical, but I have LinkedIn with or “met” some of the most helpful, talented and gracious people this way…without even leaving the comfort of my own home.
Each one of these groups that you belong to can lead you to meet people who can help you achieve your goals. Often, you meet people during these networking sessions that you develop a connection with and become closer to. Guess what? One of your first two rows just got fuller!
Now, let’s talk about those people who would be in your fourth row. This row consists of people who you should avoid. They are the people who are poisonous to your dreams. These people shouldn’t actually even be in the theatre, never mind a row.
Here is the rub…it may just be a question of timing. These toxic people may normally be in another row but perhaps their circumstances affect their attitude.
I am reminded of one brave young woman who shared that she and her husband always had each other’s backs. No matter what they supported each other and would figure it out together…until one day when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant, her husband came home and said he was very unhappy with his work and wanted to quit his job. Looking down at her baby mountain, her hormones kicked in and she simply said, “No, you can’t do that! I can’t get on board with that!” She seriously, left the theatre!
Keeping that in mind, timing and circumstances, that is. Who would make your front row? They are there for you. They encourage your dreams. They don’t laugh at your ideas (unless of course they were meant to be funny). They don’t question your sanity. With no hesitation you feel their full support.
Now, That’s your front row!