(That Which Doesn’t Expand…Contracts)
Often our journeys appear on the surface to be solitary, but they are far from it. Surrounding yourself with good people and mutual supporters is essential for success. We need the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual support of others.
King Solomon said it well, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. My friend and colleague, Ken Blanchard, puts it this way: None of us is as smart as all of us. The point is simple. The quality of your life will be in direct proportion to the types of relationships you choose to build. Let me give you four that will spur you on in maximizing your potential.
First, you need models that inspire you. Models in life help you know where you are going. When we create and build, we are better off if we use a model—whether it’s physical or financial. It’s easier, saves time, shortens the process, and reduces the number of mistakes.
This is also true with “life” models. They help us learn better and at a faster pace than if we were to take the lonely trail called originality. Find someone who is already where you want to be- financially, spiritually, emotionally, vocationally, relationally- and find out how they did it. Sometimes it makes sense to take the road well- traveled.
Models cause us to break through barriers that we thought were impassable. When Roger Banister did the “scientifically” impossible—running the mile under four minutes—within a year, over a dozen others accomplished the same thing. So look at the people who are headed where you are headed and learn from them. One caveat—you will never find a perfect model. But you can chose models that inspire you.
Second, you need coaches that propel you. A coach doesn’t do things for you. They—simply put—bring out the best in you. The best coaching advice comes from inside you. They help you get rid of the anchors in your life that are dragging bottom so you can go faster, further, with less fatigue in accomplishing what you really want deep down inside. Where do you want to be at the end of the year? Another year gone by, or the best year of your life? They will help you flesh out your intentions, which in turn becomes the rudder that guides you through the year. They help keep you growing and on track. They are committed to your goals. They don’t do the work for you (nobody can), but they help guide your energy.
No matter how successful you become, you will always need coaching. Albert Pujols is a very successful baseball player (now an Angel). Do you think he has a coach? Josh Groban can sing circles around the rest of us. Do you think he has a coach? Come to think of it, all pros have coaches! That’s why they ARE pros! Successful people who are sharpening their skills seek out coaches. It’s about who I am and what I want. A coach keeps me on track (integrity), with what I say I value.
Third, you need partners that assist you. You need helpers, coworkers, teammates, and a support group of people who form your network. They are people who share your commitment to a life mission. Why, even Jesus had 12 partners in his life. He recognized the need for association. You were not meant to go through life fulfilling your goals and objectives by yourself.
Benjamin Franklin formed a support group long before it was ever popular. He called it, my most ingenious friends group (I didn’t make that up). They met every Friday night for 40 years. In his 80’s and 90’s he was still accomplishing things, with his greatest inventions coming after the age of 70.
Thomas Edison had a group he called, my mastermind alliance. Within a six year period that group came up with over 300 patented inventions. They were averaging one minor invention every six weeks and one major invention every six months.
You get the point. You might not invent the iPhone, but you will shock yourself with what you can accomplish.
Fourth, you need friends that support you. Yes, they DO provide emotional support! True friends walk in when others walk out. They don’t abandon you. They stick with you in a crisis. And they also provide intellectual stimulation. Do your closest friends make you think or do they put you to sleep? Emerson said a true friend is one who makes us do what we CAN do. They stretch us, press us, envelop us, and put the pressure on us to grow. My point is that you will never rise above the level of your closest friends.
Who are the models inspiring you? Can you identify the coaches that are propelling you? Who are the partners assisting you? Are your closest friends hindering or helping you climb toward your intentions? Are they causing you to grow or regress?
It’s a principle in life that is the essence of the universe itself. And here it is—that which does not expand, contracts. In other words, just like the matter in our known universe, you are either progressing or regressing–going forward or backward.
The quality of your life will be in direct proportion to the types of relationships you choose to build. I’m with you on this one, so let’s choose well.
As always, your comments are valued.
(Mick Ukleja is the co-author of the book Who Are You? What Do You Want?: Four Questions That Will Change Your Life)