Odd way of phrasing it, I know. While it’s helpful to know what Support is, it’s also helpful to know what it is not.
This may feel a little dark — but stay with me because I believe it’s worth it. Whatever you do in life, remember that we follow, obey, seek after, or idolize something or someone. We worship, if you will. For some, this will be played out in religion, others in the business world, and others in the arts, etc.
Several examples — some exaggerated — include Mother Teresa for the poor (religion), your workaholic coworker that never stops (pride), or that artist or musician you know who is always pushing forward and never takes a breather (esteem). You know this person, the one who will likely kill themselves one day because of their absolute obsession. Sometimes we view “obsession” through the lens of admirable and affirming, and sometimes it is something dangerous. For instance, the difference between asserting the wedding will go off spectacularly (obsession on the details and overcoming) or that guy that couldn’t overcome what consumed him and took his life (obsession and not overcoming).
So why spend a full paragraph on this dreary topic? Because Support is not your life. Your identity is not Support — Support cannot be your meaning, cannot be the thing you live for (this is true for any role in life. A high school teacher can give her whole life and go past the point of burnt out because she tried to find hope and solace in it). Everybody usually has something that, if they lose it, means they lose meaning the reason to live life, and that is the thing you’re worshiping. You’re more than that. Think about where you’re getting your life’s definition. Yes, Support within the context of a company is crucial — I’m not refuting that — but is it everything?
Some look at this as self-care, taking care of yourself, avoiding burnout, etc. I’m thinking differently; deeper, if you will. If we raise our expectations of Support to something so critical to our souls, to our hearts, then we will have all our eggs in one basket and lose joy because we have such a fear of failure for when the plates stop spinning and everything comes crashing down.
I want us to be prepared and think about who we are and what it is we live for. If it’s for ourselves, then keep that in mind. If for someone or some thing, then retain that. But don’t let Support be the end all. If you do, then you will burn out. You will eventually fail and life will come crumbling down, doubt and despair will set in. But once the ashes settle, you’ll realize you’ve set up Support as your idol—as the thing you live for—that was never really intended to be what you worship. The good news is it’s not too late. We go through these cycles and when we fall in to the metaphorical pit, several days later we realize we made something tertiary be the focal point of our life. Let’s reset not only expectations, but our life as well. If you are prone to this as I am, don’t despair. There is hope. There is something more, something better, something truly to live for. There is goodness, truth, and beauty. The side affect is this: you become better at Support.