Find Your People

So, I took a hiatus from blogging as you already know to enjoy my vacation but also to really redirect and rethink why I blog, what I want my blog to be and what I want to say. But honestly, I think my blog is exactly me: Random, Individualistic, Funny, Unique, Trial and Error, Genuine and basically engulfs who I am as a person and professional. I mean seriously: An Asian Cowboy with a love of neon, rainbows, John Deere and pandas? πŸ™‚ #ecleeeeeectic.

Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer
Courtesy of Brian D. Proffer

But now I’m back to blogging. πŸ™‚ … as a 30 year old… :P. Yes, I turned the big three zero last week. Nothing has changed except its even more funny now when they check my ID and try to tell me it’s fake. πŸ™‚

If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll know that it’s been a significantly rough week for me.A lot of “opportunities” to work on. Some more stressful than others, some simple projects while others more…beastly. Now, as a dedicated ENFP, I have a tendency to have a period of time when I’m in panic mode when shit hits the fan. But over the year’s I’m been able to train myself to breath and triage the immediate needs and then let things simmer until I can look at everything with a good perspective.

However, this week’s “opportunities” have rearranged my entire summer and I’m going back a few months in planning and my timeline to get everything done. Now, this has occurred several times in my professional career, but it seemed to be the icing on the cake amongst a few other things I’ve been dealing with as a professional and trying to develop myself, my craft, and figuring out where I ultimately see myself in Student Affairs.

Needless to say, my normal 15 minute panic “time to digest” period was extended to about 48 hours. I didn’t really interact on my social media, didn’t blog my thoughts and pretty much shut down. Yesterday I was honest and posted about needing some extra support and perspective. And boy, did my social media family come through.

As I sat reading some advice and encouraging words from colleagues and friends yesterday morning, the first of several co-workers stopped by to offer support and an encouraging word after hearing of the significant program change I was given the day before.

It was then that I began thinking of support groups that we all need in our professional lives. We all have then in our personal lives, but we also need them in our professional lives and sometimes these are two different groups. I have built a strong support group of friends, co-workers and colleagues on multiple platforms. And they are actually there when support is needed. So my advice today and ultimately my post, is while you create, program, administrate, advise, and everything else you do as an #SAPro, build those relationships of support for one another. And be selective, be purposeful and place those people you want around you. It is one of the few chances in our field when you get to pick and choose who you get advice from, find support in and have as a foundation when you might fly off the handle who can bring you back to Earth.

A few tips though:

1) Collaborators are not automatically support: Just because you collaborate or work with someone doesn’t mean they should be in your support network

2) Be honest and open with them about the good bad and ugly: If you can’t be then you probably shouldn’t have them in your support network

3) Be able to RECIPROCATE: Give the support back when they need it, its the old “watch each other’s backs” philosophy

4) Be yourself: You need to be yourself. In time of difficulty your true self came show more than you realize and to build a true support network those in your support network should know your weaknesses and strengths, your “crazy spots” and how to provide support to you.

5) Take time to do things outside of work as well.

6) Drop them like a bad habit if need be: If person begins using your support network to improve their professional career or their higher ed political career at your expense, or are not being genuine and open with you, or even not being able to be confidential with your talks then they should be dropped.

I hope these few thoughts and tips help you build a great network to help you get through the difficult and dark times that we all have. But its the strength of yourself and the support you get from those in your support network that will get your through.

I want to thank everyone who sent a good word or piece of advice in the past few days and know I appreciate it all and love you all!

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!


Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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