We all need someone to lean on
What does your support network look like? Do you have a mix of individuals from across the trades or do you pull in people from beyond landscaping? Do you rely on one person — like a spouse, partner or friend — or do you have a circle of people you trust depending on your needs or stage of life? Do you run your business solo because you know best, or do you rely on mentors to check in with you throughout the year and especially in the “silly season” from April through June?
Business owners can become isolated by the daily hustle and the long hours spent running our companies. It can be very lonely. Yes, your company may be large enough to have a strong leadership team that mentors, listens and directs the crews and staff, but does anyone mentor you? Who can you count on for support? Where do you go if you are struggling personally or professionally? Don’t hesitate to ask for help — speak up when you need support.
A strong support system means something different to everyone, but it is so important to cultivate. Chances are very good that you or someone you know has struggled with a serious illness, injury, or mental wellness crisis. And if you haven’t, you might in the future. Personally, I know my supportive network of peers and friends has helped me at my lowest and most vulnerable. They have also been there to celebrate the highs.
I encourage you to pick up the phone — yes, the phone — and call that friend, colleague, or family member you haven’t heard from in a while. Let them know you’ve been thinking of them and you just want to say “hi.“ Ask “how are you?” and then really listen for the answer. This is the first step in (re)connecting and starting a conversation to help build up your own community. Building, and being part of, a supportive community can lead to a stronger sense of belonging, as well as better physical and mental well-being.
By the way, did you know June 13 is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Canada? People of all genders struggle from time to time, but men are less likely to talk about it and seek help. Collectively, we can banish the stigma that you have to be tough to survive in this business. Let’s make space for the stoic types to speak up so no one suffers in silence.
As always, please reach out to me if you have a question or comment. I welcome your conversations.
Lindsay Drake Nightingale