Guest Blogger: Ken La Salle
When I wrote last month about some down-to-earth issues that play a part in any dream, I concluded that having a support system might be the biggest of them all. In truth, I used to think I could do without it, but over the years, I have learned that this holds true no matter if you’re following a dream or just living on Earth: Everyone needs a support system. I suppose it might help to start with a little background first.
I grew up in a broken family without much I could count on. It was just my mom back then; my siblings (one brother and one sister) and I couldn’t stand each other. We had no extended family, no close family friends, and even the church we attended felt full of strangers. I grew up feeling very alone and when I found my passion and my dream, it was only natural for me to go after it the one way I knew how—by myself. This created problems right off the bat. It put me under no end of stress without support systems to help share the burden. I felt lonely and resentful of anyone who had a support system to connect them to the world and provide perspective. Lastly, and most importantly, I always felt like my dream was that much less reachable – because I knew in my heart what a benefit having a support system would bring. I just didn’t know the first thing about finding one.
As I went through my late 20s, my first wife and I discovered that one of our biggest problems was that we had no support system. Our dream of a successful relationship eventually failed without a support system to help us. That left me all alone and pretty miserable. Looking back on when I did not have a support system, I realize just how much better off I am now. Support systems—friends, family, people who care—are essential. They buoy you up. Life is hard. Why go it alone?
This is all easy to say, of course. The trick is: How do you build a support system?
In my own life, I have tried to keep two things in mind. First, I have tried to learn to say “YES” and open myself up to new people in my life, knowing I’ll need more than just a few. Barring that, I just try to remain realistic and remember that there will be disappointments.
My first method for building a support system, I must admit, was just dumb luck. With my wife and her family, I lucked into people who loved me and even liked me. Having never had a group of people who really believed in me before—even in my late 30s—I was astonished at just how good it felt to be accepted and recognized. Now, I’ll admit that’s the easy one, but you should never discount a little good luck.
The second method involves building a support system out of weeds and twigs and spit and sweat. The truth is that the minute you embark on a dream, no matter what the dream is, you are your sole support. You are the first person who needs to believe in you. After that, you may find your dream met with skepticism. Uncertainty and doubt are common responses. Sometimes people just don’t want to see you get hurt.
Your response to that has to be to prove to people that your belief in yourself is absolutely right. When I first began writing over two decades ago, my family told me I was wasting my time. My friends laughed at the idea. It seemed that those closest to me were more likely to sabotage my dream than support it. With every little victory, however, I slowly began to convince those in my life that I was right to begin this journey. Now, they support me as well.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The more people you have to help carry you along, the closer you’ll get to your goal.
About the Author
Novelist and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. He’s also very funny. His plays are often seen in theaters on the west coast of the U.S. and many of his books can be found in ebook format on Amazon.com (for the Kindle) and Smashwords.com(for all e-reader formats). Ken La Salle is represented by Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency