In these remarkable days, the people around you are more important than ever before.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know the significance of building a strong inner circle of people who will support, encourage, inspire and challenge you. Jesus had that inner circle of confidantes in Peter, James and John. Successful CEOs and other leaders surround themselves with trusted advisers and others who serve as sounding boards or idea people.
And, you’ve heard Jim Rohn’s thought that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
But as we dig a little deeper, we discover that it’s important to define the people in that circle, those who drive it and others who are along for the ride.
Everyone needs a Paul in their life.
Paul was a mentor to Timothy. He wrote to Timothy, he talked with Timothy, and he was an example to Timothy. If you aren’t growing, you aren’t living. Doesn’t matter where you are in life or how old you are, you gotta be learning, growing and advancing. The way to grow is to have someone(s) around you who will continually challenge your way of thinking, your approach to life and keep you accountable.
In most instances, these mentors — or sages — are older men and women who have overcome failure, adversity, hard knocks and difficulties. In other words, they have lived life. You see, you can learn life in two ways: You can touch the stove and find out for yourself that it’s hot. Or, someone can tell you that the stove is hot, don’t touch it or you’ll get burned.
Unfortunately, all too often, we choose to touch the stove. Some would say you remember that experience far longer than hearing it from someone, but having a mentor or someone with experience and maturity can save a lot of heartache and setbacks. It can make your journey flow more smoothly if someone who’s been there, done that can warn you of the potholes and dangers ahead.
Choose your mentor wisely. They will have a life-changing impact on you, and their wisdom will influence you forever. Ask lots of questions, listen with enthusiasm.
CHALLENGE: Identify a specific struggle in your life (e.g. relationship, addiction, marriage, job problem, finances, etc.). Find someone who has overcome the challenge and ask questions to start the conversation. Listen to their story, heed their advice and begin to walk through the problem.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
We all have peers, but choosing makes the difference.
These are basically the five people of whom Jim Rohn speaks. You need a mentor who speaks wisdom and foresight into your life, but your peers will be the people with whom you spend the most time. You may spend moments with your mentor, but you walk daily with your peers.
Choose wisely! Indeed, this will be a significant determining factor for your future. Yes, it is entirely possible that some relationships are causing you to live in fear, live defeated and live in a rut. And, yes, these relationships can likely impact your emotional and physical health! What can you do about it? Perhaps the better question is: What will you do about it?
You can remove some people entirely from your list of influence? Or you can have a frank conversation with them. Or you can limit the impact by limiting the time you spend with them. It’s up to you, but the status quo is not an option. Remember, the status quo is a Latin term that means the “mess we’re in”, according to the old preacher.
CHALLENGE: By now, you know that relationships are critical and you realize that some people are bringing you down, wearing you out and are often not there for you. Adjust the list of people you hang with regularly, and you will adjust the course of your life. Choose wisely!
Everyone needs a Timothy in their life.
You need a Paul, but you also need a Timothy. Yes, you are a mentor, you need to mentor, and, yes, you have something to offer. Regardless of what you may think about yourself or what you think you may have to offer, you can mentor someone. Frankly, you have had failure, adversity, hard knocks and difficulties that many others may not have experienced.
You don’t have to go looking for this opportunity. Just recognize when it comes across your path. Ask questions, and listen. People will tell you their life story. Then, when the opportune time presents itself, don’t preach and become pushy or obnoxious. Simply tell your story and how you were able to overcome your circumstance. Perhaps you’re still walking through it, but that’s okay too. Be positive, upbeat and encouraging. Remember: Your Timothy will have to take the next step. You just be available and be the encouragement and confident inspiration.
“What I think the mentor gets is the great satisfaction of helping somebody along, helping somebody take advantage of an opportunity that maybe he or she did not have.”
CHALLENGE: Listen carefully to the people you come in contact with today, tomorrow, this week. There is nothing new under the sun, so you will likely — no, you will — encounter people who need your support, friendship and hope. Listen, then tell your story. Don’t push or be demanding, simply tell your story. Believe me, your Paul experience will bring you a great blessing.
We need these three people in our lives to live the fulfilled life. Above all, however, you need God to be your supreme confidante, cheerleader, encourager and inspiration. Indeed, Jesus had James, John and Peter, but you’ll also notice there were times he went away alone. So did Paul and Timothy.
You need God as your ultimate go-to source. But make no mistake, the very course of your life will be impacted dramatically by the three types of people in your daily life. Find your Paul and Timothy and tighten up your inner circle of friends, peers and influencers.
Choose wisely, your life depends on it!