5 People To Have In Your Corner
My first real job was at McDonald’s, I was 15.
I had done my turn at babysitting and working in the corner store selling milk, newspapers and bread, but pulling on the blue striped uniform (that I had to buy!) saw me begin my ‘real’ working life.
And I loved it.
Not only did McDonald’s give me spending money so I could grow my cassette tape collection, yes I’m showing my age, and clear systems to repeat and master but it gave me my first taste of what I now recognise to be part of a recipe for success in later years. It gave me people in my corner.
I had always had friends and I came from a loving and supporting family but there are times in life when we need to call in different and specific people to our corner so we can have the success we are after.
My success at Macca’s , as we Australians lovingly call it, was to not fall flat on my face. It was a fast paced job and I was nervous. Everything was new and overwhelming and success was just making it through the shift.
Our success, at any time, is always relative to where we begin and where we want to finish. However the people we need to support us in that success doesn’t change.
From McDonald’s to my first teaching job, to our garden centre to my current business I have constantly been calling in these 5 types of people to help me on my way.
Now I wasn’t wise and all knowing at age 15 to understand what I’m about to share with you. It’s been through learning and listening and lots of hindsight that I can now see the role key people have played in my journey. My goal today is to shorten your time span in learning and implementing this strategy, because success isn’t only about what you know, it’s about who you know…..and who you have in your corner.
Let’s get a few things clarified first.
What is ‘your corner?’
Your corner is the space you occupy in the world where you are surrounded by those who have your back. I like to envisage the boxer sitting on the small stool, in their corner during a break being seen to, by their people.
Who are we inviting in?
Hoping by now you’ve realised I’ve used words like ‘right’ or ‘specific’ when I’ve been referring to your people. The world is a noisy place and I encourage you to create your corner to be a place where you can rest, rejuvenate, review, and ready yourself to go again. So while we want people with us, we are not inviting the whole world. We are being selective.
5 Types of People
1. Julie aka wing-woman
Life, business or work is great when you have a partner in crime. Early in my teaching career I met Julie. Tall, slim, dark haired with a ready smile and a listening ear. We all need someone who ‘gets it’ because they are going through the same things at roughly the same time as us. I like to refer to them as your wingwoman.
Julie was this for me. At the end of the day I could floop in a chair beside her and without having to explain she understood the day I had just had.
In business this may be a fellow course participant, a mastermind buddy or friend who is at a parallel stage in their growth. You can speak shorthand with them, and through this common experience you feel seen and understood.
2. Mark aka accountant
A few years ago as I was growing my business I hired a coach to help me with my storytelling and video skills. What I didn’t realise at the time but I was also getting an accountant. Mark didn’t do my taxes but he took no prisoners and accepted no bullshit. An accountant helps keep you accountantable. Sounds obvious. This is the one person many people say they want in their corner, but often don’t let anyone in to take on the role. At the end of the day no one really loves explaining why x,y and z haven’t been achieved, but it’s critical when you are taking the steps to reach that goal. Checking in, reassessing and pivoting if necessary are all aided by connecting with someone who wants to see you achieve but doesn’t take any nonsense.
3. Matt aka cheerleader
Matt is my husband. We have run businesses together, have three kids and have been married for over 25 years and he is my biggest cheerleader. If you haven’t got one of these get one quickly because they love you no matter how far you fall and always think you are amazing. They are great at believing in you when you have lost your way and it helps to borrow some of their confidence in you while you rebuild. They are also magic at helping you celebrate when goals are reached and it’s time to party.
4. Monica aka mentor
Monica hired me to teach a year 3 /4 class. She was my principal and her super power was wisdom. She had taught for years, understood children and parents and more importantly understood what made a great teacher. She guided me through my early years allowing me space to fail and learn and was always there to back me with a nod as I tried again.
She was my mentor. Mentors can be bosses, paid coaches or even people you never meet, like Oprah Winfrey. They embody wisdom and because they have blazed the path in front of you they can help you navigate the way.
5. The Macca’s crew aka community
The fifth person you want to have in your corner isn’t actually one person but a community. We come into this world looking to belong. So scratch that itch and connect to a community of like minded people who have a common goal.
When I was just starting out this was my Macca’s crew. I loved being part of the team. I remember even working for free just to hang out with them. A sense of community helps ground you when things begin to get real and they will get real the closer you get to your goal.
A few things to consider about your 5 types of people:
One person can hold more than one role.
At times your wingwoman may also be your accountant, calling you on your shit, or a mentor can also cheer you on from the side lines.
Don’t ask people to step outside their roles
This happens a lot with partners. I used to get mad with Matt because he was too easy on me. He’d let me ‘get away with things’ and wasn’t very good at keeping me on the straight and narrow. Poor man. He was my cheerleader and I’d be upset because he wasn’t also being my accountant. He isn’t built that way and really if he ever tries to step into the accountant role I actually hate it. Be realistic with who you assign to each role.
People will come and go
Over my life I have had countless wing-women, accountants, mentors and cheerleaders. Communities fluctuate as my interests and needs change. This is normal but keep an eye out when a position becomes vacant as you’ll want to fill it quickly to keep you on your path to success.
Connection is the gateway to happiness and all the things we aspire to in life. Life and business are too hard to go it alone so I suggest you keep developing relationships and notice how enriching your life is when all 5 positions are filled.