I‘VE It takes a villageCOME TO REALIZE just how much I rely on others for my business success.

It’s not that I’ve structured things in a particularly complex manner: I’m a part of a small group of coaches operating under a single brand. I’m responsible for finding my own clients and delivering services to them.

That group is vitally important to my focus and motivation. Before I joined, I was out there “marketing” myself, but in fact that got me no work. Becoming part of a group, all focused on the same objective, helped me stay on track and build a business.

I have other business partners as well, primarily those who help me make contact with new prospective clients. That expands my reach much larger than just the contacts I have time to make directly.

My marketing also includes those who help me get the word out to the community – through the local business paper, networking meetings of all kinds, and presentations. I know for a fact that this is actively building my reputation with my target market.

I’ve also had opportunities to consult other business professionals: accountants, attorneys, marketing experts, consultants, and coaches.

These are all of the parties which might show up in a detailed business plan, if I had ever bothered to create one. What I find fascinating is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course, I rely heavily on my family for support. Their patience and generosity is the core of what gets me through the days, weeks, and months. I’m also involved in my church, where others help me with spiritual and emotional development.

I’m surprised, sometimes, at how much I rely on some local groups of which I’m a member. Coaching can be a lonely business, we know, and having great human bonds with these friends help keep my momentum and focus. I call on them for advice, and we work together on projects which help to improve our community.

I find that trust is a key element to making these relationships work. When I trust others to play their roles, and they can trust me to do the same, then we all tend to be productive and happy. When that trust breaks down, everyone gets frustrated and confused.

I used to think that the secret to having balance was to clearly delineate between “work” and “life,” as if my job had to be partitioned off in a 40-hour-a-week corner. By that definition, enjoying work would just confuse my life.

When I started merging coaching together with my job and workplace, this whole concept of balance fell to shreds. I noticed that I was more excited about my work as well as the other parts of my week.

Now, having my own coaching business, I see that all these roles and relationships blend together a bit. For example, I’m heavily involved with the local Chamber of Commerce. This helps me contribute to the community, build a business reputation, get new clients, and have fun. Which side of the “work/life balance” equation is that on? I can’t really tell.

I do know that this has brought me a more joyous life, connected me with a whole bunch of new friends, and helped me launch a new business. Because I’m not doing it by myself, I’m engaging all those around me.

Published in, and reproduced with permission from, choice, the magazine of professional coaching www.choice-online.com.  Volume 12, number 3, final page of the issue.