As you become committed to improving your life and realizing the destiny you were created to fulfill, you’ll find more and more that the people around you are part of your team. Jack Canfield, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, says that each of us is a composite of the five people we spend the most time with in our lives. Certainly there’s a lot of truth to that, so you should stop and think about those five people. Are you getting from them as much as you are giving? Are they challenging you or are they bringing you down?
Think of your life as a fantastic but sometimes perilous adventure in which you are allowed to take along just a few companions. As you move further along your priorities pathway, more people will come into your life in partnership. You want to bring along people who will make that adventure a joyous and rewarding success. You want people who know how to read maps, people who can get under the hood and fix things that are broken, people who will appreciate the beauty and wonder of the trip you are on. You’ll want to learn from other people who have already been where you want to go.
When you are growing and changing, you need to build a support system, a network of people who are sharing the work that you are doing and helping you stay steady, no matter how difficult things become. It’s hard to make changes, and the last thing you want on your trip is people who complain, people who are constantly pointing out your mistakes and indecision, your fears and your faults. As Lou Holtz said, surround yourself with encouragers, with cheerleaders. Avoid people who suck out your energy and your self-confidence. Be alert to the subtle ways that people will try to make you give up all the hard gains you’ve achieved. You don’t want to have to feel guilty about how your behavior is affecting someone else.
As I said, it may be hard to realize that there are people in your life who are not helping you – people who are, in fact, making it more difficult for you to realize your dreams. I’m not saying that you should instantly shut anyone out of your life. But you may want to talk with such a person, to let them know that you won’t be held back from reaching your goals, and that you would like him/her to join you. Some will look only to their fears and sit back in their unhappiness. Others will rise to walk with you and grow with you.
There is a power in that kind of partnership, and you want to make it a reality. It provides a ready-made support group of family and friends who really care. You want to develop relationships that will strengthen all of you as a group. I was watching the Discovery Channel with my children years ago and they were showing a nature film about wildebeest in Africa. A small bird called a oxpecker lives with the wildebeest in perfect partnership. The wildebeest provides food and home for the bird – it even lets the bird pull out its hair to make a nest. THe oxpecker provides cleaning service by eating the insects that attack the wildebeest. Plus if the bird spots a predator, it will run up and down the wildebeest’s back, screeching until the big animal pays attention and heads for safety. And it’s usually a partnership for life.