Tuesday, September 27, 2005


being an ally

supporting others, working in collaboration, acting as a mentor - these are endeavors we find ourselves involved in all the time, in both our personal and professional lives. lately, as i play this role in a variety of situations i am developing a greater and greater appreciation for all that can be learned when we are in a supporting role. or as i like to approach it - when we decide to become someone's ally.

i prefer the term ally over most others as i think it more accurately captures the sense of partnership and common purpose that exists when we decide to support others in their pursuits. it avoids the connotations of either being a martyr, or being an all-knowing instructor. when we ally ourselves with someone we've decided to join their team - not take it over or give our entire lives to it.

at times we become someone's ally in an effort to support them in something we know very little about, other times we sign on to assist in an area in which we are skilled and knowledgeable - but in both situations the opportunities for learning are immense.

over the past few months, i have been acting as an ally to my youngest brother who just started college. i've helped him navigate the applications, financial aid forms and class registration process and more recently have been reading and editing some of his papers. my expertise in these areas has been a tremendous asset to him, but i've also been learning through the process. i've been learning how to support my brother without doing things for him and i've been learning what subjects and ideas he is passionate about. it's been a ton of fun to have this opportunity to learn more about who my brother is and who he wants to become.

i also made a decision a few months ago to be an ally to a friend of mine who is having a baby. this is an area where my expertise is quite limited, which has meant the opportunity for a ton of learning. i've gotten to read the books and magazines she is reading, ask lots of questions and listen to her think about everything from choosing a midwife to making a plan for after the birth.

both of these experiences have enriched my life greatly. i am learning a tremendous amount, and getting closer to people i care about.

what have you learned from being someone's ally?

are there people in your personal or professional life who you want to become an ally to?

as always i'd love to hear about your adventures in living big and supporting others to do the same...post them here!

dream big,

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