In session 6 at The Advance, we talk through the power of relationships. One of the biggest takeaways is this: every significant turning point in your life- good or bad- is probably marked more by a PERSON that it is a PLACE. That is, we rarely make decisions “in a vacuum.” We’re far more influenced by the people around us than any other thing.
It’s why we read observations- and coaching statements- in the Book of Proverbs like, “He who walks with the wise will be wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm” (13:20).
And- “A man who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin” (Proverbs 18:24).
Quite simply, our “inner circle” in some significant sense determines our destiny.
I had a youth minister who regularly said something like this: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
Most of us are old enough now to look back in the rearview mirror of life and observe that, “Hmm… that’s so true…” The places in which we find ourselves, the paths we tread, and positions we hold… well… most of it has more to do with who we’re with that actual decisions that we make.
This doesn’t absolve us of personal responsibility. Far from it. Even if your friends have a HUGE sway over how things go for you, remember, you get to choose those friends. You can associate… or disassociate.
Let me keep this one positive. Sure, it’s easy to make this a negative lesson and point fingers at all the “Ah hah!” moments in which we blew it. But, I want to focus on the times in which we “made it.” After all, the thrust of this lesson is to “surround yourself with the right people” (not just “avoid the wrong ones”).
I’ve learned that the greatest things I’ve done… the best moments and experiences… the greatest victories… each of these have happened AFTER the right relationships were in place.
(Man, if I could go back and teach the younger version of myself this lesson, it would be a game changer, right?!)
For instance, I never planned to write books and publish them to a larger audience. I’d written a few study guides for churches and nonprofits where I’d worked on staff, but I thought that would be the extent of my writing.
I remember walking along the beach in Hawaii, though, just a few Februaries ago. Cristy and I were on an all expenses paid trip with her company, Young Living Essential Oils. She’d won it by placing eighth in the entire world in a contest they held the previous Fall.
I’d been disinterested in her work until that trip. I wasn’t against her home-based business; I was passively neutral. I wasn’t supporting her in any way other that just not saying anything negative about it.
In fact, she hit one of the first MAJOR milestone ranks in the company, waited all day for me to come home from work so she could tell me, and I offered her only a “Hmmm… that’s nice.”
* No expression
* No smile
* No congrats
On the trip, things changed, though.
I don’t know if it was the opportunity the trip afforded us to connect with each other one-on-one. I’m not sure if it was the chance to meet other men who were involved in some scope in their wive’s businesses. I’m uncertain if it was just the experience of meeting the corporate executives face-to-face and getting a feel for what they were really like…
We walked along the beach one afternoon and I told her, “This is a great opportunity. I’m going to help you grow this when we get back home…”
“How?” she asked. “How are you going to help?” Then- she had an idea: “Why don’t you write a book? Why don’t you show the guys how to get onboard and help? Why don’t you explain the opportunity to them?”
And that’s what happened.
A few days later, we boarded the plane home. I had a rough outline I’d jotted down, so I began typing as soon as the plane hit the obligatory 10,000 feet (which is when you can bring the laptops and small electronica devices from storage). I hammered on the keyboard, punching 80 pages en route from Hawaii to Portland to some random lay-over in the Midwest to home…
The first of a series of books was complete less than three months later, it was picked up by a vendor, and I made more money on the first sale than I used to make in a month. That moment of success happened after I boarded my wife’s business bus. It happened as a natural overflow of our relationship taking on a new facet (business partners).
As I continued walking with Cristy in her growing business venture, other things happened…
For instance, we never planned to do a business workshop, to record it, and share it with others. That happened after we were called by one of our Young Living Downline members to help them “decode” the compensation plan and understand the business structure.
In other words, the relationships drove that one, too.
About once a month someone will call and want help with online marketing. With things like shooting videos to post on a website. Or email funnels. Or Facebook, Instagram, or other forms of social media. Podcasting. Now, I’m certainly not an expert on any of these forms of creative communication. But, over the past few years, I’ve learned “more than the average bear” about each of them, to quote Yogi.
Here’s why: about nine months into working with Cristy, another friend called. She and her husband were on the way home from church. She was planning to run a “business building bootcamp” for people on her home-based business team. They’d been praying and thought Cristy and I should play a part in it.
“We feel like you’re supposed to shoot some videos and share your heart and energy with people,” we were told. “We’d love for you to think about this, then get back to us…”
The more we thought about the opportunity, the more we embraced it. And, though we were behind on the learning curve (How do you shoot a video? Can you really do it with an iPhone? What would we say? What should we say? Do people even want to listen to us…?), we were excited to do it…
The truth is that the videos and online stuff we do today, well, it all started from that phone call. It all emerged from… get this… not an intentional decision to do something… but from a relationship.
I’ll give you a final example...
In a few months, I’ll travel to Nashville, Tennessee. Music City. I’ll join two other men with whom I work semi-annually to create + host + teach (as a team) at these men’s events. About two hundred guys will show up to hear what we have to say, experience the gift of each other’s presence, and walk away a little bit better than they were when we all showed up…
Men look forward to The Advance six months ahead of the scheduled weekend. Literally, they begin counting down the days to the next event as soon as the “current” event dismisses. Some will purchase tickets for the next one before they arrive home from this one.
There was never a strategic plan for these events, though.
The Advance events… have emerged… and continue to grow… and actually gain momentum… based on the relationships that fell into place a few years ago- and continuing falling into place. Some of them from guys in the “inner circle,” some of them from friends who want to build their inner circle and see if we can do a few projects together to benefit everyone involved.
You see? The greatest things you do… they most often happen AFTER the right people are in place… as a RESULT of the relationships that make it all possible.
Or, you can visualize it this way- for those of you who like the graphics :-)
That’s all the power of finding the “who.”
Who’s on my bus?- a look at the power of relationships from a different perspective. Watch / read at https://www.overflowfaith.com/blog/who-s-on-the-bus
The space you learn the most- a look at how relationships teach us to be the best versions of who we really are. Watch / read at https://www.overflowfaith.com/blog/paper-plane
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