I think we’d all agree that at times in life we need support in order to participate. Whether we need a nudge, a lift or assistance to do a certain task, we often need another’s help. But I learnt yesterday that in order to participate optimally, we also require a more individualised level of support, one that’s specific to us. At times too, feeling that our supporter has considered & perhaps addressed some of the likely barriers we may encounter, significantly improves our performance when we do participate.

Yesterday I attended a speaking personal development workshop. The challenge of networking and participating for a whole day is something that is quite physically & emotionally taxing for me. But over the years, I’ve figured out strategies to minimise the efforts involved to perform at my best. Although I began the day aware of the likely challenges I’d face, I did not consider the physical barriers in my path. Every session was held in a room accessed by stairs which meant that although I was supported by other attendees to negotiate these, my networking became more about ‘asking for assistance’ and my involvement seemed to highlight more what I couldn’t do than what I could. In fact, I felt like all my efforts went into overcoming these barriers, instead of developing as a speaker.

Then today, I attended my regular yoga session. Throughout the class my instructor pre-empted what I’d need in order to perform my best. Whether it was a block so I could modify a pose or a blanket to lessen the pressure of my knees. I didn’t need to ask, the props were just there;) Hence, my efforts were on the individual poses & I felt empowered & supported to perform. In both circumstances, I received support to participate but the individualised approach in pre-empting my needs made me feel more valued and supported to perform at my optimum.

So, is the support you give another hindering or enabling their participation? And is it bringing out the best in their performance? Perhaps there’s something that you can put in place (specific to their needs) so that some obstacles are avoided?