Chip Shots by Chip Griffin

Who’s Your Blue Crew?

American University students paint themselves blue to show support for their basketball team, much like this sculpture photographed by Nicholas Laughlin.
American University students paint themselves blue to show support for their basketball team, much like this sculpture photographed by Nicholas Laughlin.

At my alma mater, students have taken to dressing in blue and painting their faces (or more) blue to show support at sporting events. They’re called the Blue Crew.

Those cheering students helped push American University past Navy in the first round of the Patriot League men’s basketball playoffs this week. Tonight they head to Lehigh in Pennsylvania to try to advance to the league final with a shot at the championship and their third consecutive automatic bid to March Madness.

So who’s your own Blue Crew?

No, I’m not suggesting that you need folks painting themselves blue on your behalf — although if they do I wish you would share a photo with me.

But we all have people who help support us and our goals. It’s important to know who these folks are and to continue to cultivate and support them. After all, it is a two way street. Your own Blue Crew may help you personally or professionally, but you need to give back to them as well.

What does your Blue Crew do? Some things they may do include:

  • giving you advice
  • promoting you and your projects
  • offering a sounding board for ideas
  • sharing information and leads
  • financing your efforts if you’re an entrepreneur
  • serving as a megaphone for your messages
  • referring business, jobs, or other benefits your way
  • cheering you on, no matter the odds
  • being a friend

You may find members of your own Blue Crew in the following categories. Just remember that when you figure out your own personal Blue Crew members they’re the ones who fight hardest and most loyally for you, not simply casual fans who may help out when they feel like it.

  • Family & Friends. Your support and advocacy network usually starts with those who have known you best and longest. It has been said that if you can’t convince your own mother to support your efforts, it’s probably not a good idea. There’s an element of truth to that.
  • Mentors. Many of us have worked with individuals who provide meaningful mentorship. These individuals generally feel vested in your success and will be there for you when you need it, so they may be good Blue Crew candidates.
  • Co-Workers. Your office mates will logically be a Blue Crew for your efforts on behalf of the company, but often they may be resources beyond that. Office politics will reduce the number of potential personal Blue Crew members, but you know who will be there for you in thick and thin.
  • Former Colleagues. Some of my most powerful advocates and supporters come from the ranks of people I used to work with. Maintaining those relationships even after you (or they) have moved on is important.
  • Alumni. School can be a powerful bond. I have personal Blue Crew members who I didn’t even know when I went to college but who have become friends because they share the bond of being alumni from the same institution.
  • Fellow Volunteers. Think about the organizations that you do volunteer work for. The people that you meet in the course of that activity can be potentially powerful members of your own Blue Crew. You share a common bond in helping to achieve some charitable goal and that can be a useful uniting force. Just remember that your primary objective should be the volunteer work and any personal/professional benefit must be secondary.
  • Social Media Contacts. Most of the people that you know through social media are not Blue Crew members — even if they may seem like it. Unless you have made a more personal connection — ideally in person or perhaps over the phone — it’s likely that anyone you “know” through social media circles is more casual than any other key supporters. Don’t overlook social media contacts (and do use it to help maintain existing Blue Crew relationships).
  • Others. Who else can you think of that might be a personal Blue Crew member to help you when you need it? No doubt there are far more categories than the samples I gave above, so just think creatively about it.

We all benefit from our own Blue Crew, even if we don’t think of it that way. Recognizing the significance of that network and working to continue to develop and maintain it will bring greater personal and professional success over time.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Laughlin via Flickr

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