Sports enthusiasts – and even those who just like to dabble – will think that Christmas has come early this summer. Just when you think it’s all over, there seems to be something else to get us hooked: whether it’s the Euros, Wimbledon, horse racing, cricket or, of course, the upcoming Olympics in Rio, we really are being spoilt something rotten.
And these admirable athletes certainly make one thing crystal clear: no man is an island. Each and every one of them has a solid support team, a network of people with different - but equally as important - roles, to help them reach the top.
What can we learn from the best?
At many of the bumps in this long road we call life, it’s more than likely you’ll turn to others for support. When you’re trying to further a career, take care of a family and bat back the many curveballs life can throw your way, trying to handle it all alone can feel like an impossible act. That’s why the most successful individuals know how to recognise and assemble a first-class support team to help achieve their aspirations.
Take a look at the Tour de France, the epic bike race where individual riders push themselves to deliver the performance of their lives. Despite the independent efforts of the riders, it’s the collective support of powerful teams like Team Sky that provide that winning boost to success. From the mechanics that keep the bikes in tip-top condition to the medical staff who do the same for the riders; from the nutritionist who plans their meals to the psychiatrist who helps them prepare mentally for the arduous task ahead – the various roles that make up Team Sky are all key to supporting their riders to be the very best, both mentally and physically.
In fact, the mark of a true champion team is that each participant encourages the other to achieve their full potential - when each of the roles that makes up Team Sky is being performed to perfection, they become a well-oiled machine that has the potential to be unstoppable.
Let’s face it, nobody can win a challenge like the Tour de France without the right support team around them.
Just like the Tour, life is a journey that can push us to the limit – remember, it’s the support team that makes the champion.
Shoulders to laugh and cry on…
If you decide to let someone into your life – be it a partner or a friend – you form a unit, supporting each other to achieve both individual and joint goals. The most successful partnerships in life recognise it takes teamwork to achieve their dreams and divvy up responsibilities to make them more manageable. Sharing responsibility for your finances, childcare and emotional well-being will make you both stronger together.
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray certainly hasn’t flown solo all the way to the top. Instead, he surrounds himself with a team that provides a range of functional and emotional support. It’s not just his fitness trainer and physiotherapist who he relies upon; he also has a caring wife, who took on the lion’s share of looking after their newborn so he could concentrate on his sport. Team Murray includes his supportive mother, Judy (who has become something of a celebrity in her own right after never missing a game!), and other friends and family members who have supported the tennis player to win Wimbledon, not once but twice.
Family and friends
Your family and friends often play the roles of protectors, providing invaluable emotional support against the doubts and obstacles that cause barriers to getting to where you want to be. An older relative might take on the mantle of wise advisor, offering welcome words of wisdom to help inform your choices whilst telling you the truth and keeping you grounded.
Finally, friends and colleagues going through similar stages in life can act as your fellow Tour de France riders, offering empathy, encouragement and motivation to help you stay on track – just as you would for them.
Finding a mentor you can look up to and take inspiration from can provide you with guidance and direction if you are floundering. It might be someone with expertise in the field you work in, such as a manager or colleague, or it could be someone who balances their life in a way you greatly admire and wish to emulate.
As well as this, you might have the support of a coach, teacher or other trusted advisor – particularly if you’re juggling any courses or training to help further your career or take your work life in a different direction. This sort of support can help you manage your time, prioritise and assess your options for taking the next step up the ladder.
And, let’s not forget the power of the Internet. There are plenty of forums and specialist websites out there that can provide a plethora of functional advice and support from like-minded individuals.
Those who fall into this part of your support team act as inspirational leaders and motivational coaches, giving you the functional knowledge, information and assistance required to plan your route to the future you’ve been dreaming of.
As we look ahead to the Rio Olympics this summer, take a moment to consider the teams that stand behind the star athletes we know so well. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without a support team it’s impossible to make it to the top. How many people does it take to create a champion? How much emotional and functional support do they need to achieve their goals?
FutureYou – your practical support
FutureYou can be a part of your support team, providing you with the tools you need to become the master of your own destiny and make the best possible decisions to protect your financial future. Identify, utilise and nurture your support team, and you’ll be one step closer to that gold-starred future you dream of.