Last week I missed a deadline in my class because I locked myself out of BOTH my house and my car at a critical time. I felt incredibly stressed because of the event already, and that stress became much more intense as I then had to search for a place to scan my receipt from the locksmith so I could attach it to my email with my request for an extension. The next day, I received a failing grade on an assignment in another class that I thought I had done really well on. By that point I was seriously thinking about just giving up and starting over next semester.
What made the difference between continuing in my classes rather than quitting was support from my friends and family—my support network. My best friend listened patiently as I recounted the events of my really bad day. My husband reminded me that I often learn a lot from the first few assignments in a class and that that always helps me do better on later assignments and tests. My sister reminded me of the reasons I gave when I shared with her that I was going to take college classes while working full time
It is often support from the people around us that makes it possible for us to push through challenges and frustrations to succeed in our classes. If my husband had been discouraging and confirmed my gripes that I would never recover from those first poor assignments—If my sister had said “I told you that you shouldn’t have taken classes while working” instead of reminding me of my hopes and dreams—If my friend hadn’t had time to listen to my troubles and help me calm down from them, then the outcome could have been very different.
Sometimes, healthy support networks like this just pop up around you. Sometimes, though, you have to build and cultivate them deliberately to increase your chances of succeeding. For the next several weeks, I’m going to blog about how to develop a healthy support network.
In the meantime, I would love to hear examples of how your friends and family have made a difference in either helping you or hindering you in reaching your goals. What do you do when someone around you is discouraging?