On a personal level, the past few months have reinforced the importance of our social support connections. I have felt extremely blessed with the strength and support I have received from not only my family, friends (both new and old), but also people who touch our lives for fleeting moments – shout out to the stranger yesterday whom after spilling hot tea all over my laptop case, myself, and handbag, quickly provided a whole bunch of napkins and alerted staff within the café to my predicament.
It has also been a stage of my life where I have provided support to others whom have faced, and are facing, massive obstacles and challenges. At times, I have felt completely out of my depth, helpless in my inability to provide the support I think is needed, and been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I have been reminded that I am human and far from the superwoman I sometimes believe myself to be. Admittedly, it would be nice to have a cape and be able to fly (flicking my perspective one could say that Han, you do wear a tight fitting lycra suit and fly down hills… I did like my Strava girl nickname obtained after Amy’s Gran Fondo cycling ride).
Back to the point, it is during these times these times where the strength of my social support has shone through. I have also been reminded of some important life lessons –
- It is OK to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, rather, it is a sign of strength. A problem shared is a problem solved. Reaching out and asking for help, talking to someone, getting thoughts out of your head, and having people genuinely listen from a place of authenticity can be a stronger solution than any pill a doctor prescribes. It’s also a whole lot cheaper and healthier!
- We are all human (we aren’t supposed to be superman or superwoman). We can all feel insecure, helpless, and not know where we are going with life. Asking ourselves the question of ‘what do I want to do?’, and ‘why am I here’, can be pretty confronting. It takes a lot of courage to sit down, reflect, identify passions, strengths, values, and then plan on where you want to go.
- Taking action and walking the talk. Reflection and planning are only the first few steps. Making decisions and following up with action is the key ingredient. We can plan all we want, sit down with friends and discuss amazing opportunities and possibilities. However, at the end of day, we need to then get off out butts and do something about it!
- Gratitude. This one comes back to our social connections. After having our friends, family, mentors etc help us with identifying opportunities, we can strengthen these relationships with simple things such as saying thank-you and looking them in the eyes when we say this.
- Quality over quantity. This is my mantra for social connections. Being present when you spend time with people. Genuine, authentic listening. Putting that phone away. Not looking over your shoulder in networking situations for your next conversation. Refraining from judgment while you are listening to someone. Providing empathy as opposed to sympathy. All of these techniques help to broaden and build the strength of our relationships with the people who matter most in our lives.
Until next time,
Ride with purpose, ride with a smile, ride in the moment,