Your friend–or maybe they’re a coworker or an employee–has achieved an accomplishment in their career and you’d like to show your support. Thank you for being a supportive friend and lifting them up! As you probably know from personal experience, it means so much. But… what’s the best way to show support?

Last week I shared 5 things I learned from speaking at a conference for the first time and as I wrote that post I realized there were two ways that people showed their support to me that truly made a difference.

ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENT

This probably seems self-explanatory, but it really made a difference for me. When I pitched a few talks I honestly didn’t expect to have any of them chosen. I had even gotten to the point of being excited that I’d be able to choose a location to travel to early in the year instead of going someplace because that’s where I was speaking at a conference. So when I got the email saying I one of my pitches had been selected I was surprised and excited and scared. And I also talked myself into not actually seeing it as an accomplishment.

When people were excited for me that really helped me see what I was doing as something to be excited about and something to be proud of.

I still remember when I saw an email from a pastor I used to work with congratulating me. It meant a lot that he thought to send an email–and then actually did–and it helped give me a boost conference when the, “What am I doing?!?” questions started to creep in.

ASK HOW YOU CAN BEST SUPPORT THEM

I have a friend who’s interested in starting a photography business so one night we started her photography Instagram. It’s always exciting when you see a friend starting a new venture (and if you aren’t excited for them, it might be time to do some soul-searching to discover why) and your instinct is to automatically support them and follow, right? But her nervousness about starting a photography account had nothing to do with people she didn’t know following her, but from people she DID know.

Which I get. When I’m nervous to talk on Insta Stories, it’s not because I’m nervous about the people I don’t know offline watching, I’m nervous about the people I DO know offline watching.

(Please note that I’m NOT telling you not to follow your new friends as they pursue new business endeavors on social media. Having people follow an account, engage with posts, and share them is one of the easiest ways you can help you friends gain traction on social media. Just know that for some it’s a little nerve-wracking to have people they know follow them so if you ever talk about it in person and they seem uncomfortable with it, that might be why.)

That disclaimer aside, if your friend is doing something in-person that will definitely pull them out of their comfort zone — like speak at a conference — ask them how you can best support them.

One of the pastor’s that I work with was also at the conference and I saw him sitting on a bench between sessions one day so I went over to check in and say hi. He asked when my session was and then did the best thing he could have done. He asked, “Would you feel more supported to have me there or to have me stay away from your talk?”

The fact that he was willing to come if that would help me meant a lot, but it also meant a lot that he asked what would make me more comfortable because the answer was an immediate, “No. Please don’t come.”

After speaking once I’d be fine with him being there, but for that first time I needed to speak to an anonymous crowd. And he let me choose what was best for me. That was huge.

(He did send someone else that he used to work with to my talk to make sure it went well. 😂 That was fine. I didn’t know her.)

I honestly didn’t think this would be a long blog post, but it turns out I was able write a lot. I’d love to hear from you!

HOW DO YOU BEST FEEL SUPPORTED?

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