Start Small (Your People)
Who are your people? I've been mulling this question over again as I've thought about our ongoing conversation about starting small. The people we choose to give access to along the way can have a profound impact on where we end up, after all. Perhaps, like me, you've had someone counsel you to choose your friends and advisors wisely. But I wonder: How is that going for you today?
A few years ago, a friend and I got together to catch up as we do from time to time. During that dialogue, he pointed out a pretty massive truth to me which, in short, was that I didn't actually have many real friends. Sure, I had a lot of people in and around my life but in the end, many of them were people I gave to without receiving much in return. And mostly, I'd set it up that way. (Yikes.) His words struck a deep chord within me and set me in a new direction with a fresh intention: identify what a real friend is for me, search them out and let them in.
I'm going to make an important note here before moving along... These people mentioned above are valuable. I consider it an honor to have poured into them, so as I took new steps forward, I didn't seek to minimize them in any way or cut ties. But, I needed to notice what was true of my relationships and live from a new perspective, putting healthy boundaries in place. These decisions freed me to thrive relationally and continue to pour out into others.
Since that time I've made intentional choices with regard to my inner circle. Different seasons also provide different people, so I've kept that in mind. Those who have up-close access to me these days are people with whom I experience a reciprocal relationship. It's not that I keep tabs on how much each of us is giving/receiving, but I do walk in an observant awareness to ensure I'm not falling back into my old habits. I need people in my life who love and support me; and you do, too.
- Who "sees" you and encourages you?
- Who helps you to think through how to take your next step forward?
- Who reaches out to check in on you?
- Who tells you the truth with love, even when it's hard to hear?
- Who sticks with you as you seek transformation?
- Who invites you to share more about your dreams and cheers you on?
- Who tangibly shows up to help with their time, resources and talent?
- Who makes time for you?
- And hey, who makes you laugh? (Seriously.)
In 2017, and for the first time ever on my strategic plan, I wrote down the names of the people I wanted to spend time with during the year. I laughed when I did it because it felt so formal, but I knew it was my right next step in this process. I included a few categories:
- People who are more mature and experienced than I am in business. They are helping me to live a whole life while building my companies.
- People who stick with me and come to mind as I ask myself the above questions. My people!
- People who are life-giving and genuinely fun to be around. Even if I don't get much time with them, it's time well-spent.
I love my list and I'm thankful for the people I have for this season.
Truth be told, as I wrote names down I did experience some guilt thinking of a dear friend or two that I didn't include on it. That said, I realized that sometimes even the people we love aren't life-giving for us and/or sometimes they aren't meant to be walking closely with us right now and that's okay. When we can acknowledge and live in what is presently true, it frees us to continue to love well through our seasons. In order to do so, we need the life-giving people, though. Like, MUST HAVE them. Then we have the support we need so we can be present and pour out in our other relationships.
So maybe today you answer the questions above and write out a list. Maybe you take stock of your current relationships and notice those who pour into you and those you give to regularly. Perhaps you make some new decisions about who you'll invite in as you take your small steps to achieve your big dreams while thanking everyone along the way. Let's keep our eyes wide open and notice our supporters and those we need to ask to join us on our journey. We can't do it without them, after all.