Friday, January 25, 2013

Life Lessons—Why You Need Outside Support


by Reba J Hoffman Ph.D.


Other can help when we face change.
I recently had a conversation with a friend regarding the challenges I’ve faced over the last year. I told her I felt like it had affected me to the degree that I had changed. As much as I had hoped it wasn’t obvious, this friend said she’d noticed the change.

At first, that seemed like a bad thing because that meant my feelings and weather-worn persona had escaped their closet. Drat.

But, as I pondered it and reflected over the numerous bumps in the road, I realized what a gift I had. I have no doubt this friend has prayed. I hate to think what things would have been like without it. And, they accepted me, although I’d been putting my worst foot forward.  Unconditional. Unwavering. Truly amazing.

Writers face more challenges than victories.
As a writer, you face more challenges than victories. More rejection than acceptance. It’s just part of the publishing game. It is what it is. You face disappointment and criticism daily. Your critique group doesn’t like the scene you burned the midnight oil creating. You have an entire room in your house devoted to the storing the rejection letters.

It’s enough to make you burn your story outline and sell your computer on Craig’s List. That’s why you need outside support. You need those people in your life who can walk through your descent from grace and gently tell you, “your slip is showing”. Quitting the writing game is not an option. We need your story in print!

So how can you find these wonderful angels to be in your life? Certainly not on sale at Walmart. There are some things you can do to get that outside support. Here are just a few.

Be a support to others. Nothing pulls an individual closer than you being a support to them. They genuinely connect with you on a much deeper level.

Don’t be defensive. When those you trust tell you you’re seeing the glass half empty, recognize it as the truth in love and embrace it. Otherwise, they will withdraw their support as quickly as a cat pulls their paw away from a hot stove.

Friends protect your blind side!
Trust them to protect your blind side. You can’t see everything, even when it pertains to your own subtle behavior. Mind and behavior shifts sometimes sneak up on you and you don’t even see it. If someone else doesn’t protect your blind side, eventually, you’ll get sacked.

I dare say it’s impossible for you to get through the writer’s journey flying solo. That’s why you need outside support. That small circle of trusted friends and colleagues who can help keep you pointed toward your true north, and who will lovingly point out when you need an attitude adjustment. It’s not always pleasant, but always worth it.

Do you have outside support? Have you recently had your support point out stinkin’ thinkin’ to you? Share it here.

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching (www.magellanlifecoaching.com). She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at reba@magellanlifecoaching.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.

23 comments:

  1. Amen, sister! I'm thankful to have such a friend in Edie Melson. We've encouraged each other and...ahem..."protected" each others' blind side since 2001. And yes, that often includes a kick in the pants!

    I can't imagine going through this writing life alone. I really can't.

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    1. Wonderful to see you are counting your blessings Vonda. Not one of us can do it alone and you are blessed to be in such great company with Edie!

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  2. Edie,
    Thank you for this thoughtful post. It comes along at a time when I need it as well. I will have to check out Reba's blog.
    Blessings,
    Megan

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    1. Oh Megan, I'm so happy that you were blessed by my post today. I am so blessed to be given the privilege by Edie to share good news with her followers. I hope you do check out my blog.

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  3. You're right, oh so right. I'm thankful for those who pray for me, encourage me, and push me to do what I think I can't possibly do.

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    1. The push... often frightening... always sets things in motion. Thanks for sharing Yvonne!

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  4. I have a wonderful friend, an older lady, who sometimes gently jerks a knot in me, pointing out in usually funny ways when I'm dwelling on the wrong things. Great post, Reba, and you continue to be in my prayers!

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  5. Pat, the faithful contributor of blogs everywhere! I learn so much from you. And, it's been decades since I heard the "Jerks a knot in me" statement. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

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    1. Yes, as long as you keep your eyes open. haha
      Looking forward to seeing you!

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  6. Thanks for the reminder that God created us for relationships, we need them. Not even writing is really a solitary pursuit.

    We need others in our lives. AMEN!

    Jean
    www.write2ignite.com

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    1. You are so right, Jean! Thank you for commenting!

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  7. I have support, but I prefer to try doing it on my own. That's an introvert for you! This post reminds me to reach out when I feel like isolating. Thanks, Reba.

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    1. Kim, thank you for being honest. Honestly, I struggle with that too. I had to learn the value of collaboration and support. I was such a loner, no one ever knew what I was going through. Since I made that leap in my own life, it has been amazing. Hope you experience that as well!

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    2. I do, Reba, each time I'm willing to reach out. Thanks again!

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  8. Recently my critique group disbanded. We were all going in different directions. This had been a group of 6 women who met monthly for nearly 4 years. Each of us wrote in a different genre. But the input from each other for the piece being reviewed was priceless. Now, we have moved on to other commitments in life. I am at a loss. My writing efforts haved slowed to a crawl. Each day I pray that there will be a door that opens to a new group of writers, or even just one or two with whom I can share my work. Please pray with me as I seek support in writing for Him. -- Reba, thank you for your thoughtful words today. I feel encouraged and will continue to seek the support needed.

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  9. Oh Vi, so sorry your safety net was removed from your high wire. I will definitely pray that you will find (or initiate) a new writer's group. Perhaps this is your time to take the lead and form one. Not all, but many writers are more introverted and won't initiate that on their own. It's worth at least considering. Thank you for sharing your need.

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  10. My group disbanded after 3 years. I have a dear friend who reads for me when she's able to. I need a critique group to keep me focused. Please add me to your lists and I'll pray for you too, Vi.

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    1. Berta and Vi,
      Our critique group started out with seven women. One dropped out right away, but the remaining six of us kept plugging along. Sadly, we lost another when she passed away a couple of years ago. The rest of us keep going, although life gets in the way due to jobs, caring for an aging parent, relocating, or writer's block. There are three of us active at the present time.
      I've been thinking about joining a second critique group to get more feedback on my writing. If anyone else is in the market, let me know. I write Christian Fiction and am currently working on a contemporary piece.

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  11. Reba, thank you for this great post. I do have a great support system...Vonda Skelton, Edie Melson and Nan Jones. They're all precious to me, but they also give me a kick in the pants when I need it! They all push me when I don't feel like taking another step!

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    1. Ahhh... faithful are the wounds of a friend!

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  12. I belong to a wonderful critique group. Over the years, we've not only encouraged one another as writers, but also as sisters. We pray for each other and lift each other up no matter what the issue is. I look forward to the day when we can all meet face-to-face. If you live in a remote area like I do where it's difficult to connect with other writers, I can't say enough about how important it is to plug into some type of support system. I'm so blessed to have mine!

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    1. Linda there is absolutely nothing more valuable than what you just described. You are blessed indeed!

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