All of us need support people who have already successfully journeyed down our current path; people who are willing to share their insights so that our journey can be better; and people whose knowledge, experience or position can save us time, money or unnecessary pain.

We need someone who is a little farther along the journey, is able to invest in us, and sees the value of where we are today on the way to where we are going.

As you read the following lists, take a personal inventory. There are ten categories of support as well as ten different types of support.

Which support genres are you currently lacking in your life? Which could you provide to others in your sphere of influence?

Categories of Support

1. Spiritual: Is at peace with God and self and able to help you grow in your faith.
2. Physical: Models your goal health standards whether through simple adherence, or more often, through a history of victory over your personal areas of weakness.
3. Seasonal: Has successfully completed your current stage of life (educationally, as a parent, in the aging process, etc.) and is able to provide hope and good advice.
4. Professional: Has a higher degree of education or experience than you currently possess and is willing to be your resource person and/or consultant.
5. Positional: Is a veteran member of your new neighborhood, the family you are marrying into, the church you are joining, or the company/organization where you've just been hired.
6. Vocational: Is skilled in the specific task or skill set you need to know next.
7. Visional: Has a knack for seeing things as they could be, instead of just as they are, and is proficient enough in your area of interest to provide keen insight and fresh ideas.
8. Editorial: Typifies your target audience, possesses an eye for detail, and is willing to serve as an editor, guinea pig or product tester.
9. Organizational: Juggles life responsibilities like yours in a highly effective manner and is capable of teaching you the concepts that work within your unique parameters.
10. Social Medial: Is skillful in using cutting edge technology to communicate with family, peers, customers or audiences.

Types of Support

1. Prayer Partner: Prays for and/or with you on a regular basis.
2. Launcher: Introduces you to, or shows up at the beginning of, your learning curve in a particular field of interest and shares the foundational concepts that get you going.
3. Guide: Helps you prepare yourself and your supplies in advance and then personally leads the way down one of their own favorite paths.
4. Teacher: Communicates technical knowledge in a way you can understand.
5. Coach: Teaches skills and polishes them to bring out your personal and/or professional best.
6. Accountability Partner: Helps you set reasonable goals and requires frequent reports on your progress until the goals are met.
7. Counselor: Provides insight, compassion and advice at critical decision points.
8. Sponsor: Holds a position of influence or authority and uses it for your benefit.
9. Role Model: Occupies the position, skill set or lifestyle to which you aspire.
10. Expert: Shares the precise information you need to know when you need to know it through books, articles, or papers.

There are thousands of experts who have demonstrated broad knowledge, or have written books, articles or papers based on extensive research; but you will be able to identify your ideal support person because their experience, expertise and availability will satisfy your need.

Author's Bio: 

A mentor to mentors, Marnie Swedberg is the online leadership coach to thousands of women from every continent, career path and religious denomination. She is the author of ten books, the webhostess of sites generating millions of hits per year and the owner/manager of a restaurant, retail store and espresso cafe. If you need a mentor, coach, consultant or friend, come and meet Marnie!