I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a few years ago and on a day when I was enjoying a leisurely lunch with my bestie, Shannon. I was exceptionally down that day, not feeling very encouraged or optimistic about the progress of my goal of working from home as a freelance writer.
Soon I launched into a bitter lament about feeling unsupported and discouraged and “I’m sure everyone thinks I’m crazy to leave my job” may have slipped from my lips at least once.
Yes, I had a bad case of “poor me.”
My whine-fest was targeted mainly at my then co-workers and even a few members of the networking group that I thought was my support system. Shannon quietly listened to my verbal rampage, slowly put down her fork, looked me in the eye, and uttered this phrase which has since become my mantra for when the naysayers in life are starting to get under my skin.
“Run with the motors and leave the anchors behind.”
I questioned her on this strange statement and listened intently as she explained what was not only brilliant in my mind but something all work-at-home-women should keep in the forefront of theirs. “Run with the motors and leave the anchors behind” basically means, associate with the positive forces (the “motors”) in your life, and kick the not-so-much ones (the “anchors”) to the curb.
The “motors” are the people who will build you up and propel you forward in the journey to your dreams and goals. These are the people that need will be an important, and healthy part of your support system. The “anchors” are those unfortunate people who feel the need to criticize, nitpick, and simply drag you down. They would also be the ones who can be easily identified as the naysayers in your life.
This nugget of brilliance came to me right around the time I was struggling to make the leap from being employed to self-employment and business ownership. As you can imagine, there were plenty of naysayers in my life at that time, and they were starting to make me second-guess my ambitions.
But her quote helped to keep me focused in on the people who meant the most, were consistently supportive and those who always wanted the best for me. They were are also the people who were willing to applaud my vision and aspirations through good times and bad.
Identify Your Support System
In the book, A Referral of a Lifetime, there is an excellent exercise that requires readers to take pen in hand, set aside some time, and work to write down the names of everyone they know. Yes, everyone. This list can include friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, even online connections. You will be surprised that, once you start writing, the floodgates seemingly open and names will come up that had previously slipped your mind.
This exercise could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, so don’t feel like you have to rush through it. Once your list is complete, the next step is to comb through that list and identify the people who have always supported you, encouraged you and given you the emotional fuel you need. In the book, A Referral of a Lifetime, these people were identified as your “A-Team,” which is the same as the people who are your Motors. They are the people who most strongly influence who you are and how you succeed. They are people you consider your cheerleaders or the people most likely to support you in anything you do.
Maybe your Motors are the members of that Facebook Mastermind Group filled with like-minded women who always pick you up when you’re down, or perhaps it’s that special best friend who listens, understands, encourages and guides when you feel like you’ve hit yet another roadblock in your business dreams.
Connect with Your Support System
Now that you know your Motors reach out to them. Write them a letter, shoot them an email, or set aside some time to take them to lunch. Share your hopes, dreams, and aspirations with those people and pay little heed to the “anchors” and the naysayers. I would also encourage you to take a moment to tell all of those who are part of your Motors list and big, giant “thank you.” Thank them for being supportive and being a great friend. The valued connections you have today are the currency of tomorrow.
So next time you encounter someone in your life who is casting shadows on your hopes and dreams ask yourself, “Are they a motor? Or are they an anchor?” Answer and adjust your life course accordingly.