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Looking for support? Here’s who you need

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in Workplace Communication

Whether you’re trying out a new routine—like walking during lunch—or trying to shift to a new career path, you’ll need supporters. These are the people who can advise you or simply listen to you when you need it.

According to Laura Goodrich, author of Seeing Red Cars, you need three types of supporters during your journey. And all three are useful in their own way.

1. The “Been There, Done That” supporters—often referred to as mentors. “Fresh perspectives and creative innovation can come from these relationships,” says Goodrich.

2. The “Walk a Mile in Another’s Shoes” supporters. They’re the people on a journey similar to yours. Goodrich says they help you learn, and “they also provide a shoulder to cry on or an empathetic heart to listen to you unload your frustrations.”

Talking to another administrative professional—who has made the same changes you’re contemplating—can bring fresh ideas to the table.

Goodrich says the best questions she has learned to ask of others:

  • Can you tell me your story? Tell me the good, the bad and the ugly about your journey.
  • What has worked? What has not worked?
  • What are your most valuable lessons learned?
  • If you had a chance to do it over again, what would you change? What would you do the same?

Can’t you just imagine asking these same questions at an informational interview or over lunch at a business conference?

3. The “I’ll Always Love You, But That Doesn’t Mean I Won’t Challenge Your Assumptions” supporters. These are the friends who know you well and understand your dreams and desires.

They’ll love you even if you get off track, and they’ll gently let you know. “They are advocates for your journey, says Goodrich.”

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