Maximizing your support network and paying it forward

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Many of you are aware that I'm co-leader (moderator) of a SparkGroup, specifically those members who joined SparkPeople during the week beginning November 11 of this year. Today I sent an email to all 13,000+ members and wanted to share some of it with you, although the construct is much different as it appears herein.

I began by offering suggestions on developing a support network within SparkPeople. It does not have to be people you know. In fact, the majority of my SparkBuddies are people I've never met. The important thing, though, is that I read their blogs and comment from time time, as they do mine.

You see, SparkPeople is not meant to operate in a vacuum with you working alone. You probably will fail if you go over in the corner and "lurk" while you read about other people's successes. Those who get out there, as it were, and share their accomplishments, successes, even failures, are the ones who stand the greatest chance of success.

I suggested everyone on the November 11 team read blogs by those who are the most prolific bloggers and I sent along a list of screen names by those who have written the most up to this point. They're not necessarily the ones with the most points or even the most fitness minutes, but they are the ones writing the most about their efforts... and that says a lot!

Oh, I'll get around to praising those with the minutes and points, but today was all about building personal support networks. I think it's critical to do that.

If you're reading this and you don't have a support network, do a few things so we can help you. First, make sure you have a SparkPage and that it is PUBLIC! Put your picture on it, put your weight on it, include a short bio and put your goals on it. Then, add me as a friend. I guarantee I'll add you back!

Read my blogs and read blogs by those who comment on mine. Go ahead and ADD them as friends. I feel certain they'll return the favor. Finally, WRITE a blog several times a week! Your (new) support group will jump in and make comments and offer encouragement - it's what we do. Heck, none of us (except maybe those who have "coach" in front of their screen name, get paid here. This is all because I'm giving back something that literally saved my life -- I'm giving back motivation, encouragement, and advice when I can.

Take all we have to offer. As you get closer and begin reaching YOUR goals, pay it forward. It's a great system.

One thing you can do is look at my progress map on my virtual walk across the USA. There are not enough 'clicks' on it. Go to
I'm almost out of Virgina, headed west.

Oh, and if you like the ideas here, click on "I liked this blog" right below the little thumbs-up emoticon below! That's it for today, Keep Sparkin' America!!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for this post, even though you wrote it ages ago. I'm a classic introvert and really had no idea how to go about creating the support network I keep reading about.
    2472 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/10/2014 2:37:42 PM
  • NWFL59
    Thanks for posting and the positive information. I like the idea of virtually crossing the US and intend to check it out and get started today on doing it. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3089 days ago
    Thanks for sharing, great ideas!
    3098 days ago
  • 62NVON
    Excellent blog post. The interaction with the community here is integral to my continued success. Thanks for expressing it so eloquently!
    3101 days ago
    Good blog. It's an interesting formalization of some things I've done or seen others doing on SparkPeople, and it made me think about the hows and whys of support and motivation. Thanks for fleshing this out for us!
    3101 days ago
    3101 days ago
    Very good points, as always.

    I remember when I first started out on SP. I would go to the page where new blogs were listed and just start clicking and reading, especially ones that said they were someone's first blog. Then I'd post comments - sometimes just a "Way to Go", sometimes a trick or idea I'd learned.

    Once I joined SparkTeams, I started reading the blogs by my teammates (listed off to the right of that page) and that really helped me connect with them.
    3101 days ago
    And again you have said exactly the right thing! I am blessed to be part of and have you in my Support Network! You have been an inspiration to me for a long time!
    3101 days ago
    I mentor and coach many people at work. The key thing I stress is the importance of a strong network to maximize their career opportunities. This is no different. I am finally utilizing SP to its full potential but being active with teams, blogging and gaining my motivation from Spark Friends such as yourself. I hope I can help others as well.
    3101 days ago
  • no profile photo BUTTERFLYGRACE
    A network of support is essential! Thanks for the email today. You opened doors for lots of folks!
    3101 days ago
    I like the way you think. emoticon Support is so important. It has helped me a lot. I've even made a few special friends that are important to me. I really enjoyed this blog and am adding you as a friend. Keep Sparking. emoticon
    3102 days ago
    You continue to motivate and inspire me. I definitely agree with you about building a network of support here on SP. I rely on my sparkfriends to keep me motivated and honest with myself.
    3102 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13373466
    very helpful!
    3102 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11348896
    thank you for the information!
    3102 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.