As I sat in my latest Friendship Factor meeting and looked around, I realized how fortunate I am to be surrounded by women who are friends willing to offer guidance to one another in times of need. Many of these gatherings brought forth “coach-esque” valuable alternative ideas. Healthy exercise for this week - contemplating your feeling of success, ask these questions: who were you surrounded by, did you say thank you and acknowledge them, have you helped others as you’ve been helped?
I recall there have been a variety of persons as well as professional coaches throughout the multiple stages of my life and career. It's important to note the value of seeking different elements of wise counsel because not all coaches are created equal, and always keeping in mind the well-known truism that advice is sometimes worth what you pay for it! During times of grief and hardship, listen to advice being offered, appreciate it, but remember to take what you can use and leave the rest.
Your skills in serving others will never reach their full potential until your own body, mind, and spirit are healthy and served. A smaller and selective grouping of friends act as a form of wise counsel and are able to help you through hard times. Studies show creating strong and meaningful relationships with fellow women is as beneficial to our bodies as physical exercise and increases longevity.
Another great way to seek guidance is by visiting a few professional counselors to find one you connect with and then continuing to see them. I originally sought out a professional grievance counselor when my dad became paralyzed and my mom was taking care of him. This wise counselor helped me wrap my head around it all and she turned out to be a great coach for business as well. With a background in a Fortune 500 company, she listened to me and offered insights from new perspectives. When I started Friendship Factor she helped me think of the theme, and she helped me come up with branding ideas for Karen Love + Co, too.
It is a vitamin pill for me to seek guidance from individuals who have a gift of providing the insight I need when I am blocked from finding it myself. A friend mentioned her fear of stigma around seeking help. I’ve learned that being intentional when seeking wise counsel is more healthy than going it alone! It’s all about taking care of yourself when others may not be able to and giving yourself the self-care that you need to move forward. This can happen for anybody at any age or chapter in life. The truly wise person knows when to ask for help. Stress is universal and we could all use a little help every now and then. Even life’s daily demands of running a business and caring for children, spouses, parents, and friends can weigh us down. We may not be going through the same thing, but when we open our hearts we find common ground with people who know hardship. No matter where we are in our lives, we can always use guidance.
I am honored to know a colleague and friend who recognized the need for self-care when she was forced to make some really hard and big decisions in the face of a traumatic experience. When I speak with her now that she’s started to really heal, I can tell that her self-care is a top priority and also something she isn’t afraid to be vocal about. She knows striving to be the best version of herself is not selfish and only elevates those around her.
Understanding yourself is essential to self-care, so taking personality tests like the Birkman, which map how you operate, is a powerful way to help you understand self better—-Seeking wise counsel can help you pinpoint where you need replenishment, and will give you the tools to replenish as needed. Friends, I ask that you take time for yourself this week. Listen to what hurts and acknowledge your needs. If something feels off……consider:
In the eye of the storm, you may never think “Someday I’m going to be so glad I went through this,” but it’s okay to remind yourself, “There is a reason for this, and someday it will make sense.”
Life lesson unpacked: Know yourself, surround yourself with people that are supportive of you and stand ready to support them when it’s your turn.
For a background on this blog, please see the Preface.