So... what's an "army of chickens"?
Over a decade ago, my roommate at the time was big on astrology and horoscopes. One day, when I was feeling pretty beat up about my job, the struggle I had with money and my constant feeling of having to do everything on my own, she offered to make margaritas and decompress. During that tequila-laden discussion, she shared my horoscope from the Austin Chronicle. I can't remember it verbatim, but the horoscope said that:
"You can't make magic alone. You need an army of chickens that has your back as you build your empire."
Army of chickens...a group of loyal and helpful people who can support you as you build your "empire." Sounds silly, I know, but it spoke to me that day as I had to process and ask myself: "Have I really worked to build and nurture my support team to be my formidable army of chickens?"
As someone who has worked with clients and has personal experience, I understand the importance of having support in achieving career success. It's a well-known fact that support is one of the key pillars to reaching your goals, but it's crucial to get the right kind of support.
It's essential to acknowledge that support is necessary to achieve a fulfilling and rewarding career. Seeking support doesn't mean that you are not capable or competent; it's about giving yourself everything you need to be successful. Often, we are brought up with the notion that we need to handle everything ourselves, but this can result in neglecting to seek support. Behind every successful person, there is usually a supportive individual, whether it be a partner, a best friend, or a family member. Going it alone means you're not giving yourself the best chance to succeed.
So, what kind of support should you avoid? Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of people who are not suitable sources of support. These include naysayers who always focus on what could go wrong, people who are envious of your goals, and individuals who seek validation through fear. Additionally, unsupportive bosses who take credit for your work and competitive colleagues who undermine your accomplishments are also not good sources of support.
One common mistake I see among women is relying solely on their partners for support. Although partners have a crucial role to play, they are not always the best source of support for career-related matters. They may not have the expertise or experience to provide sound advice on industry-specific challenges, and it's unfair to expect them to fill that role. Before assuming that your partner isn't supportive enough, consider whether you're looking to them for the right kind of support.
So who needs to be on your support team? Wherever you are at, and whatever your goals, I recommend you gather around you the following people:
a champion: this person will always be there to push you up, praise your results and pick you up when you stumble. They believe in you with an indestructible faith, will always cheer you on and be by your side. (My closest friends find this value in me so deeply, one of them had "The People's Champ" embroidered on my robe as a gift.)
a loving voice: this is often where your partner’s support is best expressed. It’s that emotional backbone, that voice telling you it’s going to be OK. Someone who just wants to see you happy no matter what you undertake. They might not know how to guide you specifically, but their intentions are the most loyal and heartfelt.
a wise person: someone who will provide clarity where you need it, help you see what is going on and suggest objective solutions. This could be a coach, an older sibling, a parent, a counselor…someone who understands you and can put you back on the right path.
an inspiration source: someone you always learn from and who energizes you mentally. It can be a mentor, a role model, an inspirational leader, an artist you admire, a friend… anyone who takes you to another level when you spend time in their company.
a fun buddy: this can be someone without much in common with you (being interests or age for instance) but who makes you laugh and provides a refreshing perspective. It can be our children, or that odd friend or childhood friend who has a totally different career path.
a special club: a group of friends around the same interest, whatever you are into. This is a place to bond without any expectations and to relax – in one word, just be you. It could be a book club, a mother’s group, a wine drinking gang, a traveling squad… you name it.
So who are these people in your life right now? Who do you need to find and add to your team? Reach out to your networks, use social media to connect and find them. It might not happen overnight, but once you understand who you need for what, you’re halfway there.
Seeking the right kind of support is crucial to achieving career success. Not everybody needs to be in your army. Don't worry—the right people will show up.
Avoid individuals who aren't supportive or who may hinder your progress. Instead, build a support team of individuals who can provide the appropriate expertise and encouragement to help you reach your goals. Remember, behind every successful person is a supportive network.