Follow These 3 Steps to Find Your Life Team

Dr. John Townsend

June 3, 2018

Your life team is critically important to your wellbeing. This support system will help you overcome the challenges you face in the personal and professional realms.

I’m going to discuss my three-step process to help find those great people to have in your corner when the going gets tough below. Hopefully, you will be inspired to find your life team!

1. Identify Your Life Team

First of all, what is a life team? Let’s talk about this a little bit.

In your life, you are going to interact with thousands of people. Family, friends, classmates, coworkers, etc. Having the right kind of people in our lives is a great gift.

Think of your life path like your car. It needs fuel to get down the road. It needs proper maintenance to run correctly and keep you safe. By the same token, you also need the right kind of people in your life. Your life is there to help you accomplish the things you need to do to be successful.

They might offer you support in the following areas:

  • Take care of your family
  • Make the money you need
  • Have the right kind of job
  • Get up in the morning and feel good
  • Go work out. Have friends
  • Go take vacations
  • Achieve things

Do You Need a Life Team?

Maybe you are wondering if you actually need a life team in order to get the most out of your experiences. Let’s examine this a bit.

  • Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your to-do list at work at home?
  • Are you completely satisfied with your career?
  • Is your overall physical and emotional health where you want it to be?

Chances are, you have areas in your personal and professional growth that could use support.

When you aren’t able to make things happen on your own (without support), it’s time to consider changing your fueling system in your car. It’s time to make an effort to build your life team.

We tend to hang around the people in our lives because they chose us. Throughout life, you just kind of choose people who reciprocate. They might pick you because you’re nice, warm, have answers, or you’re kind.

If you really want to get the energy you need, as well as the resources, wisdom, and the smarts you need in life, you’re going to have to pick some people to change your fuel a little bit.

This doesn’t necessarily mean reject or condemn anybody. We all have friends at different levels. It just means you must make sure you’ve got the right people in your corner.

2. Understand Why a Life Team is Important for Growth

So now that you understand what a life team is, let’s talk a little bit about why you need to assemble yours now.

So much of the energy we need to live life comes from other people. It just does! Much like vitamins for our physical body, we have the need for certain people in our circle for a great life. Your life team will give you those nutrients; their support will give you the energy needed to keep growing and moving forward! You then use that energy to fulfill your purpose in the world.

Surrounding yourself with people who you can count on, who will listen to you, who give you warmth, and won’t judge is critical to overcoming obstacles. It’s that simple!  

3. Create a Life Team

We’ve covered what a life team is and why it’s important. Now, let’s get started on creating your life team.

Ideally, you need somewhere between 3-10 people on your life team. Ten is kind-of the maximum because it takes time to develop in-depth relationships with people. Keep in mind that the larger the group, the longer it will take.

Your time is valuable and so is theirs. Less than three people may not provide the life nutrients you need for growth.

The great thing about people is that everyone contributes something different to your life. Certain people have wisdom, while others offer empathy, challenge you to grow, or have strong insight.

Now, This is Not a Team in the Traditional Sense.

I know it sounds like everyone is getting #TeamYou jerseys. But, the truth is you probably won’t meet your life team all at one time. Think of them as people you pick up along the way.

Let me tell you about my own life team. I have 10 people on Team Townsend because I have a lot of needs. They all live in different parts of the country and don’t know each other well. The common thread connecting them is me!  

What Does it Take to Be #TeamYou?

Consider these questions as you seek out people who can provide valuable nutrients for growth:

  • Can they be vulnerable with you and can you be vulnerable with them? If you can’t be vulnerable, you can really never get what you need out of the relationship. When people feel they have to have it all together all the time, they’ll sort of never get anywhere in life. Vulnerability is a real answer to growth.
  • Can you really be honest about the negatives in your life, including failure, things you’re embarrassed about, and things where you’re beating yourself up? Not only must players on your life team be vulnerable, they’ve got to have total safety. There’s no shaming, no judging, and no advice a lot of the time. Chances are they will be great listeners and great at asking you the right questions to help you find answers.
  • Can they challenge you and offer honesty? They must be able to say, “I think you’re going the wrong direction here,” or maybe just give you wisdom or data or information or life experiences. Bottom line – they’ve got to have truth in them.
  • Is there chemistry? If you don’t really like them personally, then you won’t want to have lunch or coffee with them. If you don’t enjoy spending time with them and learning from them, don’t add them to your life team!

Life Team: Assemble!

Ready to assemble your life team? Let’s get started! Here are my suggestions to get you started.

Make two lists. One is a list of the prospects by going through your email and phone contacts. Make a second list of the people that shouldn’t be prospects.

Although it may sound harsh, this is an important part of the process. After some reflection, you may learn you’re letting people in your boundary space that you shouldn’t. Or maybe you’re not giving enough time and energy to the relationships that benefit you. Trust me, you’ll find a lot of good things happen when you do those two lists.

This list will likely take you a couple of hours, but prune the list down to 20-40 people. Then, pick the first person that looks like an ideal life team member and, call them and ask to catch up. Spend some time with them.

When you talk, take one little step of vulnerability. Maybe you admit something is kind-of hard to them, like “I’m really struggling with my job,” or, “One of our kids is kind of going south,” or “I’m struggling with my dating life,” or whatever. Be open to the person.

If they give you a bunch of advice, change the subject, or talk about themselves, that’s not a good sign.

But, if they move toward you and say, “I had no idea. Tell me more about that. That’s really hard,” you know you’ve got a potential. The key here is that they are able to listen, and not make it about themselves.

I recommend that you have three or four lunches or coffee meet-ups with someone you consider a prospect for your life team before creating your final roster. Their support will be critical to your overall growth, so take your time and get it right!

Once you have picked your life team, your next step is asking them for their support. What you say after three or four meetings is, “I’m getting really intentional about my growth. And I know my growth involves getting a lot of people around me who really want to grow and change and support each other, and I’d like to meet on a regular basis.”

It will take time to build a team, somewhere between four and six months. A life team can’t be sporadic.

Try to get together regularly, whether it’s once a month or once a week to just talk about life and how you can help each other grow.

If you’re struggling with identifying who should be on your life team, let me help you. Subscribe to TownsendNOW today and start identifying the good people who can truly help you grow.



Related Articles

Craig Kautsch “True Grit” podcast

Ever wonder what the meaning of emotional intelligence really is? My next guest is Dr. John Townsend has written over 30 books on the topic. He has sold over 10 million copies, including the New York Times bestselling Boundaries series. John is a nationally-known...

read more
Vulnerability: Absolutely Risky. And Absolutely Necessary

Vulnerability: Absolutely Risky. And Absolutely Necessary

You and I need people in our lives who care deeply about us, who are safe, and who want our best. We want them to  “be there” with us, to encourage us when we are discouraged, to give us insight on what’s going on, and to call us to the right action steps to make life...

read more
NYT: How to Set Pandemic Boundaries for Relatives

NYT: How to Set Pandemic Boundaries for Relatives

Dr. Townsend had the privilege of being interviewed for this informative and timely article by the New York Times. Article Excerpt: Be a conduit, not a lifeline ... "When you feel overwhelmed, Dr. Townsend recommends that you create a list of all of your...

read more