Finding Encouragement Where You Can: The Lab Rats & Support Networks

  • Someday Lesson: While it shouldn’t matter what others think of our dreams, getting support when we’re low makes a big difference.

Madnzany on Flickr.comI’m a very lucky person. My boyfriend supports me in my writing dream even if I don’t earn a whole lot of money (his favorite phrase is: Move over JK Rowling, Alex F. Fayle is on the way up!). I also know what to do physically to keep my mind and body functioning well.

Plus I’ve identified what gets me down and what types of people to avoid in my life. If someone brings me down, I simply don’t interact with them, or keep interactions to a minimum. It doesn’t matter if that person is family (although my family is very supportive), friends or colleagues. If you’re a naysayer, you’re gone.

It took me a long time to get to this level of confidence, however. I’m an approval junkie, and for some reason always picked the most difficult person to please as the measure for my success. No more, however. By identifying what supports I have in my life and what naysayers (or negative actions on my own part) to avoid, I’ve created a network of positivity that keeps me going even when my dreams seem very far away.

In chapter eight of the Someday My Ship Will Come In ebook, the Lab Rats took a look at their own network of supports and naysayers. Let’s see at what they discovered about their network of supports. And next week we’ll look at the naysayers.


While Alessio wouldn’t really call his family actively supportive they do want him to be happy and give him the space to choose what he wants. As well his financial situation and the savings he’s managed to put aside will support him somewhat through the learning and startup phase of his dream business. Plus he’s learned to seek out more frugal options and has been successful in this.

Romantically his girlfriend is very supportive and has been telling Alessio how proud she is of him since becoming a Lab Rat. She’s thrilled that he has realized what his dreams are and that he’s actively pursuing them. Physically, Alessio has started yoga which has helped calm anxiety and keep him from freaking about things, which has boosted his confidence significantly.


Horatio has the same sort of relationship with his family that Alessio has – not actively supportive but they hope he’s happy. Like Alessio, Horatio and his girlfriend have a decent reserve built up in the bank, enough to weather some severe unemployment, plus he’s been offered enough short term work to give him the confidence to keep looking for his dream job.

Outside of his relationship with his girlfriend, Horatio has a few regular social activities that form a good escape valve – forget about everything and let the steam off for the night – and while the gym and meditation offer the same escape valve, he hasn’t been so committed to keep them going.


Lizzie also experiences a healthy financial situation (due to some good tech boom stock choices) and when she decides to go back to work she knows people will be happy to see her return. Specifically inroads to working at the local college have magically appeared over the last couple of weeks and all Lizzie needs to do is follow up on them.

Family-wise her mother, while problematic at times, adores Lizzie’s daughter and has always been generous with material things and that has certainly made my life easier at times. In terms of her other relationships, by putting out feelers on a new house and by focusing on friendships, her relationship with her partner has become smoother. The excitement of new things has injected excitement into the relationship as well.

And while Lizzie does suffer from depression, she’s learned to remember that things WILL get better and has also learned to get past the bad feelings by throwing herself a quick and dirty pity party. Plus she now explores in writing what’s bothering her until she discovers and action she can take to make things better (yay to writing and action!).


Of all the Lab Rats, Wendee is the one in a less fortunate financial situation. Like many people, the pursuit of an income while she pursues her dreams can be draining, but she finds that by taking the small step of working between 30 minutes to an hour day on income pursuits rather than thinking of it as a huge obstacle blocking her. This breaking down of the project allows her to keep going.

Wendee finds support from her family by example, seeing them being creating and always learning new things. Her partner is also a good example to her. He is supportive, very active and very results-driven. By getting things done, he helps create time for both of them to do what they need to do, together and separately. He doesn’t let Wendee stay down but keeps them both busy, rather than sitting on the sofa, being glum.

She also finds support through her Internet friends and small circle of local friends. The trick here is to give the support from all these people more weight than the discouragement she receives from a smaller number of people.

Like Alessio, Wendee takes Yoga and class is something she looks really forward to and commit to going to. Plus she’s trying to get into the habit of just doing things: going out for a walk in the mornings and even though she can easily talk herself out of being active, she knows it works extremely well for her.

Measuring Progress

In the last post, the Lab Rats came up with their plans and I left you wondering what their actions would be. Don’t worry, we’ll get there, but before taking action, the Lab Rats needed to put their plans in the context of the people around them, their situations, and their own attitudes towards themselves.

In looking at the Lab Rat supports it’s easy to see why money issues cause friction for so many people. Alessio, Horatio and Lizzie have the space financially to pursue their dreams. I have a (financially) supportive boyfriend who helps me as I build my business (and income). For Wendee, her dreams of teaching are frustrated by her income needs. Instead of letting it get her down, however, she’s incorporated her income pursuits into her life as a habit, turning it from a worry into an action. And step by step she’ll get there.

Action and being physical also provide huge support for each of the Lab Rats. I’ve noticed the same. The more active I am physically the more productive I am. Even though my chosen exercise (running) takes at least two hours out of the day, it gives me the energy to whip through my tasks in record time. When I don’t exercise, I drag myself through my day and get little done.

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3 thoughts on “Finding Encouragement Where You Can: The Lab Rats & Support Networks

  1. Cathy says:


    That is so true about exercise, it makes such a difference. Recently though I haven’t been able to squeeze it in for one reason or another, but boy have a noticed a difference in mood/ attitude to things.
    .-= Cathy´s last blog ..Officially Autumn =-.

  2. Alex Fayle says:

    I’m looking at my schedule today and wondering if I have time to run but have decided that if I have to I’ll cut out some work things because the exercise will carry me through the weekend with much more energy.

  3. […] few weeks ago before looking at their supports and their naysayers, I asked the Lab Rats to come up with a plan. In case you don’t remember, […]

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