Self-Awareness 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
Following up last week's episode on dealing with external resistance to change, in this episode Willard discusses ideas for you to create a supportive environment. By making adjustments in your living area, and in your community you can empower yourself to maintain your focus on your journey of self-awareness.
Today we're going to discuss creating a supportive environment.
In last week's episode we were talking about what do you do when you run into external resistance? I know we ran a little bit long on that episode and at the end you hear me referring to Jerry showing me that we're almost out of time. There are actually two reasons that we are concerned about time. One is that we host these videos on our web site, but we also put them up on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and other sites that host videos, and some of those sites have time restrictions. And the second reason is that, we want to keep your attention. I don't know how well you would do, or how well I would do, if I was sitting here running on for ten or fifteen minutes, about a specific subject.
But there was so much content regarding the external resistance and what to do when you don't have a supportive environment around you that people asked about, we did decide to make that video a little longer than we usually do. And this one may also run long because, again, people were asking a lot of questions regarding this topic; which really followed up nicely to what we released last week. And the question was, "How do you create a supportive environment when you don't have that available to you?"
There's a saying that you become the sum of the five people you surround yourself with. You don't become the leader of that group; you become the average of that group. And a lot of people are in situations, whether it is self imposed because they're not comfortable with reaching out, or they don't know where find a support system; they're in a situation, where the people that they're surrounding themselves with may not be the most supportive environment for what they are looking to create in their lives. Or those other people may not be playing the game of life at the level that they themselves want to play. Or maybe is it because geographically they're restricted so that they don't have access to mastermind groups or seminars or book discussion groups that could support them on their journey.
It doesn't matter where you are, you can create a supportive environment. Understand that a supportive environment can be people, or it can be things that you surround yourself with making your living or work environment supportive. Or you can create a supportive environment by being selective about the things that you feed your mind with like books you read, television you watch and web sites you visit.
Jerry loves my sharing this story of how my personal development journey started in a jail cell. You can't get much more isolated, or in a more non supportive environment than that. That's where I read my first personal development book which was "Think And Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. And because I was in that environment, and because of where I was in my life at that point, that book impacted me dramatically. And it still does. One of the things that Napoleon Hill shared in that book, and I don't remember if he was referring to himself specifically or someone that he was sharing a story about, but the story was about creating a "Mastermind" or a group of people that you would discuss ideas with and get support from. He was sharing how this person didn't have a supportive environment, but they wanted to create a Mastermind group. What they did was they chose five people that they totally respected, totally admired, and who they wanted to emulate. Some of these were former presidents, some of them were scientists, some were great artists and when they chose a group of 5 people they wanted to be in their Mastermind group, they read every piece of information they could get about these five people. They studied their lives and learned everything they could about their character and their approaches to dealing with problems. Then when they had a problem of their own, they would say, "What would George Washington do?", "What would Ben Franklin do?", or "What would John F Kennedy do?"
They spent the time studying these people and knew so much about them that they could actually use their imagination and create conversations with their Mastermind group, based on understanding how those people dealt with those situations. They in essence created a "virtual" supportive environment.
So even if you're isolated in a remote village somewhere, watching this on YouTube or our website you have access to finding that kind of information about the people you would want in your Mastermind by searching online. Pick out people that you want to emulate. Think about who you would want to learn from. If there was no limitations, who would you most want to surround yourself with.
For some people their geographical restriction is not as bad as others. As an example, as I progressed in my own growth, I went from a jail cell to living in a small town, called Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. A very small population, I think it was around 8,500 people. It was still not an easy place to find others on the same journey or to create that supportive environment. But I had committed at that point, that I was a) going to stay sober and b) that I was going to learn how to deal with the fears, the anger, the limiting beliefs; all these different things that were going on in my head that had led me down this self destructive path. And I also committed that I was going to go back to living my dream which as a child was that I wanted to be a singer and songwriter and a performer. That's how I had made my living for the majority of my life, but I had dreams of doing it at a higher level. Recording my own music and performing it.
So I had committed to those things and I set out to find ways to create supportive environments. Even in this little town, Lock Haven, I found groups of people who could help me and support me in the part of staying sober and growing in the self -awareness aspect of my journey. Actually, it wasn't right in Lock Haven. I had to drive 30 miles to get to these meetings where I would be with these 6 to 12 people and we would spend an hour brainstorming and talking about problems we were having in our lives. We were creating the kind of supportive environment where I would say, "You know what? I'm struggling with this right now ...." And somebody would say, "You know what? I had that same problem -here's how I dealt with it." And that's how it starts. And then you progress. You progress on this journey of self awareness. You learn new skills, you move to certain levels of understanding, your support system grows and you make new friends. And sometimes, you grow past that group and you need to say, "OK, this has gotten me this far, what's next?” Some of those people who have been a part of your support system will grow with you, and some of them won't.
Another one of those areas where I needed to find a supportive environment was in music. Again , in that part of my life when I had moved back to Pennsylvania, I had gotten back into the music industry. And I had the joy of being in one of the top drawing bands in that region for that time which was the late 1980's. And that band reached a place where we were filling clubs to the point where we were drawing larger audiences than national acts that had videos on MTV.
But there came a point where the band was not willing to go any further. They got comfortable with the level of success we had, and were scared to go into new areas because of financial responsibilities that we had taken on as a band. My dream and my goal was to record, to write original music, to travel, and to perform. And they wanted to stay inside of a "comfort zone". So, in my professional life, I had to make a choice.
If I was going to stay true to my commitment to growth, I needed to step beyond that support system that had served me so well, and take a risk. I actually made the choice to physically relocate because I didn't have the resources and the support system for what I wanted to achieve if I stayed in Lock Haven. I moved to a town in New Jersey that was right outside of New York City. Now I was immersed in the music industry. And by making that move, I was not only immersed in the music industry, I found opportunities to go to workshops and book discussion groups, and seminars that would support me in the personal development journey.
I also reached a point, even being in New Jersey, so close to New York City, where the challenge was, I would go to these seminars , I would get all this great information, and then I would be sitting around alone because I was new to the area. After I left the seminar or the workshop I didn't have anybody else to talk to and to learn from like I did back in Lock Haven. So what did I do?
I got involved in creating a group that got together on a regular basis to support each other and discuss what we were learning. We called ourselves the Seventh Power. In time we turned it into a non profit organization, because our highest purpose was that we wanted to take what we learned and contribute to others. That group was a huge inspiration for the community I am working on creating today. We all got together on a regular basis to share our experiences. We created book discussion groups and we did all these things to help support our communities. We created that environment from a common desire to grow and serve.
Wherever you are, and I mean that both in terms of geographically or where you are on your journey, you have opportunities to create an environment that supports you. Sometimes that environment will be created by surrounding yourself with physical human beings. Sometimes it will be created by the books that you read, the television shows you watch or the websites that you visit. Sometimes it will be about how you decorate your living space. There was a point in my life, that my most supportive "environment" was my bedroom. I sat down at my computer and I typed up statement like "Every decision you make determines the future you will live" and "Take Action Now". And I papered the walls in my bedroom with these in huge bold fonts. Not just motivational sayings but things that I committed to myself. And by having these all over my wall, every time I woke up, every time I looked around me, there were things in front of me that were reminding me of the journey that I was on. It was an environment that was supporting the fact that I was on this path of growth; I was committed to success in my relationships, in my health, in my sanity.
Your supportive environment can be many things. You know, there's a saying that two brains are more powerful than one. Finding one person of "like mind" is a powerful first step. So the action step that I want to offer in this video is going to be different depending on where you are geographically for some of you.
If you're in a major city or a larger city, look around in the newspapers, look around online, and even television ads. You're going to find workshops, seminars, book discussion groups about the area you are looking to grow in. Look in the phone book for a wellness center. When you find one, go there. Find other people that you resonate with, that you connect with, that are working on the same things you are. And then make the commitment to stay in touch with them. Sometimes you are going to have to visit a few different places before you find the right environment, but you will find it if you are committed to it.
If you're not in a metropolis or an area that has those kinds of physical resources, use the internet as a resource. There are discussion groups, there are forums, there are chat rooms, there are all sorts of places where you can meet like-minded people. And if you're in such a rural area that you don't have much access to either physical resources or the internet, and I'm sorry but you DO have access if you're watching this video to do the internet, though I do realize that for some people Internet access can be limited; do what Napoleon Hill talked about. Create that mastermind group by studying the lives of people you want to emulate. Go to the local library and read everything you can about people you aspire to be like.
What I want to ask you to commit to right now, is in this next week find one person that you can align with. Again, whether its face to face, whether its online... find one person and commit to supporting each other. Commit to sharing each other's ideas, commit to sharing your struggles, commit to sharing your strengths, your goals and your dreams. And in time, the two of you will find a third and a fourth. Ultimately, I'd love to see you find at least five, but start with just committing to get one.
You have our website as a resource. We're here to help you in anyway that we can.
I look forward to hearing your results. I look forward to connecting with you soon. I look forward to being a part of your support system.
Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode