Support – Giving or Receiving, Is a Very Worthwhile Thing

by on December 9, 2010

Support – Giving or Receiving, Is a Very Worthwhile Thing

midlife career changes support recieve and give

The local library in my home town provides its facilities to host a “Professionals in Transition” meeting every other week.  Public libraries have always been good providers of resources to people in need.  Given the current economy and labor market such sessions have become much more common in many locations.

I had the pleasure of attending a recent session this past week and came away inspired by the comments of one of the gentlemen present.  We were asked by this week’s speakers to introduce ourselves and indicate why we were attending the session.  Many indicated they had been out of work for awhile and were looking forward to the topic being presented for that day on “Branding Themselves” for prospective employers.  Others were new entrepreneurs also focused on the topic of the day.  And, then we came to Patrick.  He proudly introduced himself.  He indicated he had been coming to the sessions for awhile and that the best part was meeting the fellow attendees and getting to know them.  Most of all, he stressed he was there to support all those that were there, just as they were supporting him, individuals going through a common experience of looking to restructure their career aspirations at the midpoint of their life.

Support isn’t always something easy to give or receive.  When asked to give it, there may be concern around what to say or how to say it.  If one is in need of it, there can be an awkward feeling in displaying ones vulnerability in reaching out to someone.  However, during time of transition, it can often be a lead factor in getting one through the steps they need to take to move onto achieving the life changing goals they are seeking to reach.

When faced with change or doubt in one’s life, a support structure or group can provide many benefits.  These include:

  • Gaining the benefit of and the perspectives of many people while not having to rely exclusively on our own thoughts.   While one may be a very capable person, each one of us is a product of the belief system and assumptions which have taken us to this point in our life.  No one person experiences everything or has exposure to every way to go about something.  The support of others can provide input and a perspective that we ourselves have never considered.
  • Being able to share our thoughts and concerns with others.  This is particularly valuable when our support contacts understand that their role is to listen in a non-judgmental manner.  Sometimes the one sharing just needs to be able to let out what they are holding inside.  Other times they need to have others hear what they are saying, that they may not hear themselves when thinking about the situation they are facing.  This is where intuitive listening comes in handy.  Again, while we’re accountable for the decisions we make, having as much input as possible to make them is always of value.
  • The realization that we are not alone in facing an issue or change we are now making.  While it may seem at times that no one has faced exactly our situation, it is almost impossible that that is the case.  Knowing that others have been where we have been, faced items at the time they thought may have been daunting and made it to their goals provides inspiration for us as we face our life changing actions.
  • Many times when someone else is facing a new challenge we pick up knowledge ourselves on how to deal with that issue when we face it in the future.  Those who are open to interacting with others quickly learn that our fellow human beings are both our students and teachers and as a result have a lot to offer us.  One does not gain that advantage by trying to handle every situation in life alone.

So, thank you Patrick for reinforcing that lesson in me.  Change is tough for most people.  When it happens at midlife, it is often more difficult since habits and ways of doing things have been ingrained in a person for longer periods of time.  Knowing that you have the support of family, friends or even strangers who become friends in various meetings with them can go a long way in one moving through transition and going forward with a new purpose as they continue to pursue their life’s journey.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elaine Fortune December 10, 2010 at 7:03 am

This is all hitting home for me Tony. I was married for 18 years and although I attended college classes, I never got my bachelor’s degree. My ex was a merchant mariner and I basically saw him about 3-4 times a year so he asked me not to work so we could spend time having fun together when he came home. Well we divorced and I had no work history to speak of other than odd jobs, volunteer positions, and my art. Yes I’m talented at what I do but with China owning the USA now, that does me no favors.

So I’m 54 and looking for a plan B. A “real job” as they say. It is not bad enough I have to go back to school (i love learning), but I can’t get a $10 an hour job and I know its my age. I speak to so many men and women about “do you think its age” and they all say a resounding “YES”.

I was telling a friend from out of town last night how alone I feel with no support, family, and fair weather friends since returning to San Diego. I make friends easily but I find myself so hesitant of my own abilities, my self worth is at a low, and all I feel like I need are a group of people to encourage me and network in real time…not the comp.

Then computer has its place but I spent so much time trying to network online, I was wasting valuable time to get my own life in order. Its very scary and most life coaches cost more than I can afford at this moment in time.

Thanks for your information Tony….I will look into it in my own part of town. I believe we as a population of Americans need to be more supportive and sharing than ever with all that is happening to us and our country. Partnering up with someone in business who has strengths in the areas you have weaknesses is a prime example. Anyone out there with a business head who would like to partner with an artist in San Diego? 🙂



Tony Calabrese December 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Hi Elaine,

Thank you for the kind words about this post. I already see that you are taking charge of things by realizing that you need to get out, network with others and look both to give support and at the same time gain support from other like minded individuals.

I do realize that a full time life coach is something that not everyone can afford in their life. However, do take advantage of your love of learning by looking for opportunities that are free or low cost such as teleseminars, library presentations, adult school classes, etc. where while not necessarily personalized or one on one, what is offered may be applied in one’s life. Another option on the coaching front that sometimes works for people is to seek out an individual who runs a group coaching practice, where the members of the group share common issues and items from which they want to move forward. Often such options are far less expensive than individual coaching, and also at the same time provide a support network with the other participants.

I realize that what is going on in the world today is very challenging, especially for those of us at midlife. However, when you reflect back and see how far you have come and what you have accomplished to date, and realize that you have so much more to offer, it does help to keep you going in spite of the obstacles. That is something that I continue to learn, and want to share with those who become part of my life in the coming months.


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