Advice

The Power of Friends — Perspective

  Last week on the blog, I wrote about how important it is to live a life filled with true, authentic friends. I also said those friends positively impact your work. If you want to start reading there, click here. If you want skip that and jump right in, keep reading.

 

THE NEXT STEP IN FRIENDSHIP  

  In last week’s post, I laid the foundation by saying your best work comes when you have true, authentic friendships. But today, you’ve reached the next step in your life-with-friends journey. Today, you need to know friendships help you do your best work because of one reason — friends give you a proper perspective. Now, there may two questions buzzing in your head after reading that:

  1. How could friends help me?
  2. What’s wrong with my perspective, anyway?

  Well, I’ll do my best to tell you my answers to these questions. Let’s get started.

 

HOW FRIENDS HELP US (AND OUR MESSED UP PERSPECTIVE)

  Friends help you and I maintain a proper perspective because life is messy and we get in our own way. Life being what it is — with its ups, downs, questions, and concerns — put us in dire need of a proper perspective. Often, we need someone else to help us sort out the tangled mess of our emotions, all so that we can remember the truth about our situation. That’s what a good friend can do. They can help you move past what’s messy and remember the truth of who you are and what you’re facing.

 

That’s what a good friend can do — help you move past what’s messy and remember the truth of who you are and what you’re facing. “ 

 

  We all need friends in our corner to help us remember the truth. But more than that, we need good, authentic friends.

  Take a moment and imagine your core group of friends. I mean your ride-or-die friends. Got ‘em in your mind? Great. Those are the ones you want by your side in the midst of life happening to you. If all you have are the flaky friends, the no-show, only-want-something-from-you friends, you have some work to do! To do your best work and live your best life, fill your life with friends who are for you being at your best. Fill your life with friends who want you to succeed, friends who genuinely care for you. Anything less won’t cut it when you’re a mess of emotions and struggle. And believe me, I have faced struggle myself and had friends to help me out of it.

 

MY STRUGGLE — I’M (NOT) A MASTER FRIEND-MAKER

  I mentioned earlier how I know about needing friends because of personal experience, and I do. I am naturally an introvert, so I can get into a rut of doing life all by myself. Now while it’s good I’m introverted and there are strengths associated with that, last week’s post still applies to me — I’m at my best when I’m doing life with other people. I am still learning to build a deep bench of good, authentic friends. One of those friends for me is my friend Roger.

 

MY FRIEND ROGER

  Roger and I first met when I was in a two-year church internship, and he was their Facilities Director. Roger and I seemed to hit off, probably we had the same gentle, caring personality, and we started to get together once a month. Since then, Roger and I have both moved on from those roles. He’s now retired, and now we get together every few months. When I was in- between jobs earlier this year, Roger always wanted to know how my job search was going, and more importantly, how I was doing. He was a source of hope for me in those uncertain days. And you know what? Having Roger in my corner helped me be that much more diligent in my job search. Because Roger was there, I kept going, when on my own I would have given up.

 

THE WAY FORWARD

  Here’s the truth — for you to do your best work, you need someone in your life like Roger was for me. You need a good, caring friend who’s out for your success. Friends can be a powerful force in your life, if you let them be. They can be a force for good or for bad. Aim for caring friends.

  And now, the hope — good, caring friends are only a coffee meeting or a phone call away. Just reach out! On the hard days, you will be glad to have them by your side. We are relational beings, made to do life with others.

  If you want to make wise career decisions, embrace the gift that good, authentic friendships can be.

 

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Your Best Work Includes Friends

Finding Forrester—the Gift of Friendship

  One of my favorite ways to unwind is watching movies. I love a good story, and one of my favorite stories is found in the movie “Finding Forrester” from the year 2000. I’ll give you a short synopsis—Sean Connery stars as reclusive author William Forrester, he meets a young city kid named Jamal, and the two of them experience the unlikely gift of friendship as William helps Jamal with his writing. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!

  Just like William and Jamal discovered in their story, our lives are better lived in the company of true, authentic friends, even at work.

   Now, I could stop there and generally claim that’s true. But if I do, I’m missing something. I’m overlooking a harsh reality of our world — we live in a world full of tension, and that tension can cost us our friendships. Here’s why I think so.

A Lone Wolf World

  Today, we’re in tension because we’re tempted to work and live as a lone wolf. Being known by others, even at work, can be easy to avoid if you want to. We can be glued to our smartphones, playing the newest app, or swiping through our email in a nanosecond. In doing so, we shut out any and all chances of friendship.

  So the temptation is there — you can be all by yourself if you so choose. But just because it’s easier now to live in our own little bubble, should we?

I’ll take a moment here to pause for dramatic effect...

... 

... 

  Alright, the drama is over.

  I believe the lives we want, work or otherwise, are brought about when we are in authentic relationships with others. In fact, I’d argue we are divinely designed to be in relationship. For me, I am a Christian; I own that, and it informs my perspective on the world. And in being a Christian, I have to face the Truth of Scripture again and again that God has made me to be in a close, intimate relationship with Him. There’s something else in that, too — I face the reality that something is off-balance when I’m not in relationship with God and with others.

  Being in ongoing relationships with other people is how we’ve been made, faith or lack of faith. When we do life with good, authentic friends, we are at our best, including the work we do each day.

The Way Forward

  I never want to write something here and not include the truth for us understand and a place for hope. With that, then, here’s the truth to understand — our lives are better lived in the company of true, authentic friends. We are made to be truly known by someone else, and that truth goes beyond your faith or lack of faith.

And now, hope — relationships are worth the risk. I promise you, the life you’re after is not confined to the muted-gray walls of your cubicle. No, in fact, it’s lived out in Friday night game nights, in hour-long catch-up sessions at the coffee shop, and in the hard days when tragedy strikes. Living your life alone is not the answer. Change only comes when you take the risk and get in relationship with other people.

Take the risk. Let others in, and find the life you’re looking for.

 

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