Of all the known elements of success, the most neglected one is support.

And I'm not referring to having a team made up of A-players in your field--although that's essential, too.

I mean getting support from people who are important to you: your partner or spouse, parents, siblings, children, and closest friends.

The lack of support from them can set you back from success. Without this support, you feel isolated. You can't talk about the challenges you're going through without getting misunderstood, even blamed and judged ("I told you this wouldn't work!"). There's nobody to cheer you on and keep you motivated when you need it most--usually when you're on the brink of a breakthrough.

People have even given this a name: "entrepreneurship isolation." It includes, not just the lack of support, but being point-blank discouraged from pursuing your goals. It's been called the "dark side" of being an entrepreneur and can lead to anxiety, depression, and even addiction.

As if running a business wasn't hard enough!

This is why part of the training we provide our business students at my company includes enlisting the support of their significant others. Our training programs typically require an investment of at least 10 hours a week and several thousand dollars--not an irrelevant amount of resources in money, time, and attention. The ones who succeed are typically the ones who receive the wholehearted support of their closest circle.

If you're trying to build and manage a successful, thriving business, my advice is to be intentional in surrounding yourself with people who are supportive of you and your business goals.

You need two things to enlist everyone around you in your vision:

1. The skill of enlisting others in your vision

The way you do this depends on who you're talking to and how you communicate with them, but the first step is always to communicate.

To talk productively with your spouse or someone else close to you about your vision for your business, you have to understand how their fears and insecurities tie into it. What concerns do they have about your big vision? How do the people you care about feel your choices and decisions will affect them?

Use this simple yet highly effective conversational model, based on the teachings of Srikumar Rao:

  • "I feel X..."
  • "I need Y..."
  • "What do you need?"

In a relationship of love and support, such open, straightforward communication works well.

2. The courage to start and have the conversation

It isn't easy. You're afraid your spouse will force you to make promises you can't keep, your parents will dredge up every single failure from the past, and your best friend will laugh at your dreams.

But even though it's uncomfortable and you're not certain, you must still have the conversation with the people who are closest to you.

Courage begins at home. So start a conversation with your significant other about your vision for your business. Use Srikumar's model to help you decide what to say and in what order. Go ahead and start now; send that text, or make that call, to open the conversation.

As you get the support of the people who are closest to you, then you'll have more courage to approach and talk to others who are also important to you.

And if you find your courage faltering, keep thinking about the impact you want to make on the world. Think of the lives you will transform, the people you will help, when your business is successful. Those people need you to do this.

You're probably marshaling various resources to help you succeed, including everything from capital, to investors, to vendors, to employees, to prospects. Don't forget to mobilize the support of the people who mean most to you. It just might spell the difference between your failure and success.

Published on: Sep 5, 2017