• Ariana Friedlander

Who's on your team?

Students at my daughter's school have the same teacher for two years. When she returned this fall the thing that created the most stress wasn't having to wear masks, or anything related to COVID. It wasn't even starting a new grade. It was the simple fact that she had a new teacher.

I know from experience the important role teachers play in our lives. I've spent years healing the hurt of my own second-grade teacher's inept comments that I was a "lost cause." I've also blossomed under the tutelage of other teachers such as Diane Masar, Nancy Lowry and Tony Middlebrooks.


Each of those individuals catalyzed my growth and development in profound ways because they possessed two key traits. First, they believed in me. Pure and simple, not only did they believe in me but they accepted me for who I was and would become. Second, they challenged me to expand my thinking and push beyond what I had "known" before. And they did so artfully - a nudge here, an eye-opening question there, a thought-provoking resource placed in my hands at just the right time.


No doubt, I am the person I am today because the influence these teachers and so many others have had on my life. The people we surround ourselves with make a mark on our lives, so we might as well be choosey about who they are.


As I met with a client recently, we celebrated her new promotion. She's now leading the business unit she served on for so many years.


As we processed this shift I asked, "Who's on team YOU now? Who will you turn to when you need a sounding board or support?"


This is an area I have seen clients struggle with in the past. Moving from peer to manager changes the dynamics of their relationships. Finding people to support them in such a shift is essential to succeeding. What they might have commiserated with a peer about in the past is not appropriate to discuss with an employee.

What's more, with greater responsibility comes bigger stressors. There are things never before in one's purview that now require decisive direction and action. Finding the right people to be on your team is an invaluable resource.


Building a support team isn't just about finding people who can assist you professionally. It's also essential to include people who are there for you personally, the ones you can call in the midst of a personal crisis. The people who provide for your physical health and spiritual wellbeing.

After all, everything is interconnected. If a leader is feeling unwell, say fatigued from navigating a global pandemic for over 18 months while raising kids - they need to address their personal challenges in order to be on point at work. Try as we might, we can't simply leave that part of ourselves at the door when we go to work.


My client's next step after our session was to take to the pages of her journal and work on creating her team both personally and professionally. This is one of those times I like to use mind-mapping. I first learned this technique from Jason Womack, who was my coach at the time. Like anything we do in the pages of our journals, it's best to invoke Journalers' Choice. Take the prompts, and make the practice work best for you. Below is a video about how to create Team YOU in your journal.


After you do this exercise it helps to look at the areas where you see the need for more support on your journey. If the first step is taking an inventory then the second step is to fill in the gaps.

One of the benefits of journaling is shining the light of day on otherwise ambiguous elements of your life. By making the invisible visible, you now have the power to take control and do something about it.


Would you like to deepen your self-awareness? Are you ready to show up authentically at work but don't know how? What if you could figure out how by listening to your own innate wisdom with just 20 minutes of journaling? Join us for a Journal Jam, September 14th. More information and registrations is available online here.



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