Find Support For Your Journey

Following is a guest post from my good friend Becky Robinson of Weaving influence inspired by Steven Snyder’s newly released book Leadership and the Art of Struggle.

“Through giving and receiving nurturance, we tap into one of the most fundamental of human yearnings: the deeply sacred and intimate experience of reaching out and touching another soul.” Steven Snyder

One of the grounding practices in Steven Snyder’s book is the need for leaders to find support for the journey.

I moved to a new hometown about three years ago. On the first Sunday morning in town, my family visited a new church. It was Valentine’s Day, and the pastor talked about the power of relationships.

holding handsI held to my husband’s hand while tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt that I had left all my relationships behind. Surrounded by people, yet alone except for my family, I wondered how I would build a new support network.

Here are some lessons I learned, while looking for support on my journey:

Building a supportive network takes time, sometimes longer than you expect. Building supportive relationships in my new hometown didn’t happen overnight. It happened much more slowly than I wanted it to, in fact.

You must learn to give — and receive. When we strive too hard to give to others without allowing them to give back, we may short circuit connectedness. It’s counter intuitive.  I thought if I tried hard to serve others, I’d find friends easily. Until I started to share my needs and struggles with new friends, my relationships didn’t connect.

Mutuality creates deeper relationships — as both people in a relationship can share struggles, support, and encouragement,  a bond is forged, one far stronger than a one sided relationship.

We may find support in surprising places. During the time I most wanted to find in-person support, I developed, instead, a wonderful online network of supporting, caring friends. I’ve found a community of mentors, coaches, advisers, and friends, many of whom I can call on at any moment to find support — and they can do the same with me.

Without a supportive community, both online and off, I would not be able to courageously and confidently navigate the struggles on my leadership journey.

Who is supporting you on your journey? 

This week is the official launch of Stephen’s book. You can buy it on Amazon or read a free preview and learn more at snyderleadership.com.


Enter A Comment

Karin Hurt   |   14 March 2013   |   Reply

Susan, you and I often seem to be on similar wavelengths. You might enjoy this one…http://letsgrowleaders.com/2012/09/15/leadership_pit_crew/

Susan Mazza   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply

Love this idea of a leadership pit crew Karin Thanks for sharing your article here to augment Becky’s insight.

Stan Faryna   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply

Having just made an intercontinental move, myself… I know the feeling, Becky. Online friendships help and getting to meet and know some of those online friends in person (now that I am closer) has been a true gift.

Susan Mazza   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply

Having also made quite a few big moves I can relate to the experience Becky describes as well Stan. Where did you move to?

Becky   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply


Amen to the power of online relationships. One of the deepest ones I found was with Susan! (Love you, Susan!)

I trust your online friendships will carry you through as you look for in person relationships in your new hometown.

Susan Mazza   |   23 March 2013   |  

Rightbackatcha Becky! Grateful for our rich personal and professional relationship – amazing to think it all started with a tweet 🙂

Sharon Gilmour-Glover   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply

There must be something out there on the wave lengths. I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of support networks. I really resonated with Becky’s comments about learning to receive. I’m much more comfortable giving but of course, if I won’t receive, I won’t feel supported. I really liked her comments about receiving creating a deeper level of connectedness in the relationship. Very insightful.

Thanks for the post,

Susan Mazza   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply

Themes do seem to emerge in the conversations we are in and around! I think part of why receiving deepens the connection because to receive we must at at least some level allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Appreciate your comment.

Sharon Gilmour-Glover   |   18 March 2013   |  

I agree completely Susan. One must be vulnerable to receive and that can be a challenge for sure.

Love your blog,

Susan Mazza   |   23 March 2013   |  

Thanks very much Sharon. I truly value your participation in the conversation here!

Becky   |   15 March 2013   |   Reply


I’m glad my words resonated with you. A question: are there times that receiving comes more naturally to you? What has worked for you in the past to enable you to receive from others? I dare you to try them this week!


Sharon Gilmour-Glover   |   18 March 2013   |  

Hi Becky,

Frankly, I’m really always more comfortable giving. But – I will take up your challenge and let you know how I make out next week.


Sharon Gilmour-Glover   |   25 March 2013   |  

Hi Becky,

I promised myself last week that I’d take you up on your challenge and proactively look for ways to receive as well as give. We have a couple of new service offering so I reached out to people in my network looking for feedback and also suggestions and referrals.

I’m still not very comfortable with doing that (well it has been a whole week of practicing!!) but it was such strong reinforcement of the support I have and how much everyone likes to give. I am moving forward keeping receiving top of mind.

Thanks again Susan and Becky

Jon Mertz   |   16 March 2013   |   Reply

Great points, Becky. Building that supportive network is very critical, and it is challenging to do in new areas. In many ways, it is easier to build our network in social media then in real life. Both can be beneficial, but the ones in our communities and neighborhoods deliver more.

I am grateful for my community – online and offline – and when they meet in real life. Thank you, Becky and Susan, for being a part of that! By the way, great book by Steven, too!

Thanks. Jon

Susan Mazza   |   23 March 2013   |   Reply

Thanks for your comment Jon. My experience matches what you are saying about it being easier in many ways to build our network in social media than in real life. What I have also found though is that social media opens a door to people, like you and Becky, who I likely never would have discovered let alone met.

Lucky for me many of those social media encounters have turned into very real friendships and fulfilling collaborations. I am grateful to have you as part of my real life community even if we haven’t YET met in person!

bill holston   |   19 March 2013   |   Reply

Another great comment. I left 30 years of law practice to lead a non profit a year ago. (http://www.asylumist.com/2012/03/21/from-private-attorney-to-ngo-director/) I’ve been very humbled by the team of supporters I’ve seen this past year. One thing I’ve noticed: I have supporters I met as opposing counsel in litigation matters. It’s essential not to burn bridges in life. I recently recruited a board member from a man who was on the opposite side of a lawsuit. I’m glad I discovered this blog. It’s helpful. Thanks Jon for the link!

Susan Mazza   |   23 March 2013   |   Reply

Thank you Bill and welcome! First I want to thank you for sharing the link to the story of your personal journey. It is an an inspiring story of finding your calling and following the call that I encourage everyone to read.

In the context of Becky’s article there is one thing I would like to draw from your story into this conversation. You talk about how you realized that while you were helping others literally get their lives back you realized “It was I who was getting the most out of this relationship.”

We all too often think that in asking for support we are only receiving. Your story reminds us that the opportunity to give and to serve can perhaps be the greatest gift we can give.