Building Your Team

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.  -Babe Ruth

I encounter many people every day who deal with illness.  I run two support groups for people and one of the main questions I am asked is “How do you find people to help you?”  This is always a tough topic because usually when you need help, is when you are at your lowest.  Coming up with the energy to reach out and find resources is the last thing that you want to do.  That is why I think creating that team in advance is something that is so important.

I look at a support system as multi-tiered.  As you move out from the center, you tend to have less contact with the people.  However, they are there if you need them.  I took part in a webinar the other day that talked about building a support system that looked very much like how I have built mine.

The very center of your system is you.  You are your best advocate.  You know best how you feel.  You know best what you need.  However, there are times when you may not be able to act as your own advocate or communicate how you feel or what you need.  That is when your all-stars need to step in.  This area is made up of people who know you and love you.  They can and are willing to step in when you are not able.  This could be your partner, kids, parents, or friends.  It is important that they are a willing participant in this role.  I would also advise you to have more than one all-star.  When times are tough, it can be an exhaustive and time-consuming job.  I used to feel guilty asking people to help me in this role.  I have since realized that people like to help.  Especially if you are the kind of person who is always trying to help others, it is nice for the other people in your life to help you.  I definitely believe in a cycle of helping.  It is good for everyone you have a relationship with to be a part of this cycle.  This center group of you and your all-stars I refer to as your personal team.  They are well-versed on your condition and circumstances and willing to step in when needed.

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