If you want to reach your career’s full potential, you’re not going to do it alone. Whether your career is flying high or you’re struggling in a trough, the need for other people’s support is a constant.
Here are eight people you need in your life to help you make the most of your career:
The energizer: These people are energizing just to be around. They’re excited about what they’re doing. They’re excited about what you’re doing, or what you could be doing. Spending time with these people rubs off on you. It feeds both your energy and your outlook. They’re relentlessly positive (though not in a smarmy, irritating way) and see the world as packed with potential and possibility.
The visionary: These dreamers aren’t limited by the petty constraints of current reality. They see what could be. They’re bursting with ideas and, like energizers, they’re relentlessly optimistic about the possibilities. By their very nature, they have a big vision for your future for you to live up to. Spending time with these people prevents you from getting mired in a static picture of how things are.
The implementer: Dreams are great, but they’re little more than puffs of smoke if you don’t do anything to put legs under them. People who have a natural implementation bent will call your attention back to the need to bring your dreams back to earth for long enough to get traction on making them reality.
The questioner: Questioners are important because they don’t just let things slide. If you’re in dreamer mode, they might ask about the nuts-and-bolts of how you’re going to actually make it happen. If you’re locked in a rut and not seeing the full scope of possibility in your life, they might question the assumptions that are keeping you stuck. Note that the questioner is different than the skeptic. A skeptic looks for reasons not to believe. A questioner is just interested in clarity.
The collaborator: Being the lone wolf 100 percent of the time inevitably limits what you can achieve. Working together with others toward a common goal can expand your potential exponentially. The collaboration might be on a project, a business venture, a job search (with other job seekers), or even learning (with others who are focused on learning the same subject matter).
The mentor: Mentors can both guide your journey and help you avoid unnecessary mistakes. They are a treasure trove of knowledge, insights, and perspectives. The more you learn from mentors, the less you have to learn the hard way, and the more you can focus your energy on moving forward.
The mentee: You might look at this one and ask, “Why do I need a mentee in my career? How would that help me?” Ultimately, it’s about keeping the cycle of giving flowing. It’s about giving back. It’s also about what you receive by giving. It can feel rich and fulfilling to see the difference you make in someone’s life. Being of service can feel energizing.
The emotional supporter: Finally, if you think you’re going to sail through your career without experiencing bumps and bruises, without feeling frail and uncertain at times, think again. Those bumps are natural part of the journey. With that in mind, people you can rely on for emotional support play a huge role in your career success.
You may have people in each of these categories in your life already. Think about all the people you know. If they aren’t already fulfilling these roles, which of them could they play? Reach out and ask for their help. If these people aren’t yet in your life, start exploring where you can find them. Notice the qualities of the people around you, and reach out when appropriate. If you do that consistently, you’ll build a strong team to support you on your way to success.
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book, 101 Ways to Get Wild About, and his E-book, The Occupational Adventure Guide, offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.