When Moral Support Keeps You Stuck

I had the pleasure of giving a speech to a small group yesterday, and afterward a woman came up to me to purchase a copy of my book “The Giving Prescription.” She let me know that she had been through a difficult time the past few years, and was having trouble moving on with her life. She was hopeful that reading “The Giving Perscription” would give her the perspective she has been looking for to move past her challenges.


Often when people come up to talk to me after they hear a presentation I give, they want to talk about getting “unstuck.” For some people, that’s a taller order than others. I left the talk yesterday thinking about this woman and how she has so much potential, but hasn’t been able to shake that stuck feeling for years.


Then yesterday evening I went to a Mastermind session for my professional organization. With a bunch of speakers sitting around a room, a lot of talking gets done! As I looked around at the end of the evening, we were all energized by the new ideas, the flow of energy, and the amazing prospects we had uncovered for our businesses by solving one another’s problems together for two hours. Nearly every single one of us was walking away with some brilliant idea to apply to our businesses, to move our careers forward.


It got me thinking about how last night’s Mastermind session was almost a “support group,” of a type. It was a bunch of people with similar professionals and similar goals, supporting one another in moving our careers forward. Yet it felt so different from a traditional support group. The focus of support groups is often “where have you been?” and “where are you?” A Mastermind group, on the other hand is about “where are you going?” Last night’s Mastermind session got a lot of people unstuck, and got many people moving forward.


Don’t get me wrong – Support groups are a wonderful and critical function of the healing process. Support for where you are is a necessary part of healing and coming to grips with stressful situations. But does there come a point where someone might be staying stuck because they get in a rut of needing support? Of reverbalizing the problem time and again? What if we got more support in a Mastermind kind of way? If, instead of rehashing where we are, we moved on from there and got ourselves unstuck by Masterminding our new plan?


Maybe when we are struggling, we need two types of support. Tier 1 support is crisis focused, more traditional support groups, just to get through the day and put one foot in front of the other. Then you can graduate to Tier 2 support, which is Mastermind-style skills for moving forward and rebuilding. If we could all Mastermind our lives the way I watched a room full of people Mastermind their businesses last night, we’d be in good shape.