Your fantastic FIVE…or your flat tire five?
We have all heard it…”You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
I personally believe there to be a lot of truth in it. I recently spent a lot of time thinking about this over a weekend as I was at the family farm.
It all began with dropping my kid at the airport to go on a medical internship to Poland. I’ll write another post on all the shit that goes through your mind sending an inexperienced flyer and your first born to another country for two weeks and what you learn around that at a later date. In the meantime, read on.
It was harvest, so I took a little detour to the family farm vs going back home. It is rare that I hit harvest when I am free and while there is still cutting to be done. I hadn’t done so in more years than I can count…probably since before I had kids to be honest (EEK). It was always my favorite time of year: meals in the field, playing in the wheat, getting suckers at the grain elevator. This year there were a lot of breakdowns so we weren’t cutting wheat when I got there.
I don’t have the skills to ‘fix your grill’ let alone a combine, so I spent the day shadowing an old pal in his work.
It was a lot of driving, talking, checking cows and water, talking, opening gates, talking. You get the idea. I just rode along, looking pretty and being entertained. It was pretty great, and yet (like always) my brain was processing the whole experience from beyond just being present in the moment(s).
What I learned was:
There are people who get you.
There are people who love to just have a back and forth exchange and don’t lose interest in 5 minutes.
They truly care about your thoughts.
They enjoy meaningful conversation …not just small minded small talk about people.
They aren’t afraid to challenge thoughts and feelings and make you look deeper without some hidden agenda of making you see things their way, but rather just plain curiosity.
They make you laugh.
They know when to shut up.
They can handle silence without needing to fill every single space.
They hear your story without judgment and with compassion..even the really shitty parts and just hold space, no need to offer comment or solution, just bearing witness.
They feel like ‘home’.
There are no replacements for people you have known for what seems like forever and yet sometimes if, in business or the driven high achiever world, we are always asked to evaluate these relationships and be on the constant upgrade. We are asked to measure them, quantify them, and always choose better people or risk being left behind in your success or greatest potential.
Danielle Laporte suggests that:
“There’s a shadow to the “5 people rule”. it can make us transactional… strands of usery can find their way into the connection, tinges of envious cloying. And in that dynamic, real love will struggle to grow.”
I find there to be immense truth in this. I always to strive to be a person people feel enriches and adds value to the lives of those around me. But the reality is, sometimes my shit stinks and I’m not ‘worthy’. I am not the best version of myself and could be categorized as a person that isn’t elevating my peers to be their highest and greatest self just by being in my presence. Sometimes life is sledgehammer fucking hard for a whole season, not just a passing minute. How would it feel if I got marked off the list or left behind because of it?
She is right, it can be transactional if we aren’t careful.
There have been seasons of my life that I was in hiding because things were just hard and it felt too peopley out there. The risk of judgment was high (as if you weren’t already in judgment of yourself). There were always a few (that felt like many) people that couldn’t handle it WITH me. They just didn’t know why I couldn’t ‘just reach for the better feeling thought’, or ‘change my story’, or all the other self help and spiritual stuff that we sometimes get (and give) in crisis. Don’t get me wrong, I love that shit like it’s my single only job, and sometimes its simply not enough. I felt unfit for public consumption. I felt afraid that if I shared my deepest truths I would be further judged or worse….categorized as one of those people that is ‘dragging you down’ and kicked off the ‘the list’. So I hid during times when I needed my tribe the most.
We simply have to respect the seasons. It’s not going to be juicy and delicious all of the time, smelling like roses, glowing like moonbeams and rainbows with unicorns and sparkles everywhere you go.
Sometimes its dark and twisty and your mindset suffers and life and business feel like a giant black hole sucking the life out of you. You need your tribe more than ever to pull you out.
THAT is when you truly know if you are surrounded by the right people. Do they love you through the tough times? Do they see your light even when you can’t? Do they lovingly kick your ass when that’s what you most need without apology for holding you to your highest code of conduct? Can they offer you a soft place to land and bear witness to the struggle with deep faith and trust that when it’s their turn you will do the same for them?
THOSE are your people.
Who are YOUR people?
I am so blessed to have friends and colleagues old and new. The old ones keep me around no matter what and stand by in the brightest of lights and the darkest of twists. The new see the potential and hold me steadfast to the goals and challenge me to think bigger (thanks BAMF).
Find your people. BE the people you want to surround yourself with…and hold a heart of compassion for the rough spots with grace not just with others but for yourself too.