It never ceases to amaze me how people that I used to be super close with, have a long period of time where I never hear from them and then all of a sudden, they call. I’m sure you know the kinds of friends I’m referring to. Oh yeah. They’re the ones that you bailed out of trouble time and time again only to hear from them when they want something from you. I know several people who fall in this category. That’s why it’s so important to keep your friends close.
They say that you are known by the company that you keep. Well, there’s a lot of truth in this and even more truth that you may be a magnet for negative energy. For a long time I was. I tended to migrate to the folks that their self esteem was lacking and as such, they had no problem doing things as long as I was willing to pay the bill. It took me a long time to see their true colors but I did and I’ve made provisions accordingly.
So why do you never want to burn bridges but keep your friends close and your enemies closer? For one thing, if you want to do more in your life, you need to keep connections open and drama free. How can you find out about opportunities if you don’t know anyone who is in those fields? Believe it or not, those same frenemies taught me the most valuable lessons of all. They taught me who I could trust, what they should know and what I should keep to myself, and even more. They also taught me that just because you think someone will never betray you, think again. Often times it’s the ones closest to us that cause the most growing pains. In some ways, this is a good thing. In other ways, it’s painful, humiliating, embarrasing and extremely confusing.
When it comes to our professional lives, our friends often are too close to give honest opinions as to our quality of work. They may not have the critiquing skills that are needed in order to elevate our own skills to the next level. While there’s no shame in that, getting professional advice is often necessary in order to reach the next level.
Here’s a few things that have helped me as I continue my ventures forward. For starters, you can learn a lot from the people that you like least. It sounds like a cliche but it’s so true. For example, watch how people in politics spin things. It doesn’t matter which party you are for. Politicians are reknown for spinning things in the manner they want. Since I’m doing more with marketing, I’m finding that politicians are a fantastic guide as to how to market what they feel the people want. There are people that I deal with at work that I may not always like but I learn from them if I allow myself. I work for a family owned business so I won’t be able to move into the corporate world with them because I’m not family. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn additional skills that will help me be marketable somewhere else. It just boils down to paying attention and being willing to deal with people you don’t like in order to move forward.
Believe it or not, you may have other friends that are having difficulty stomaching the people you work under too. Support each other and learn from each other. It’s amazing at how a support system can lead to better opportunities. Often, it makes sense for people to create alliances. I’m not saying spill all your secrets. Just don’t burn bridges. You don’t need to worry if an ally is going to betray you later on to the higher ups. Feel things out. Use your judgment and not your mouth.
Be confident. Confidence attracts confidence. If you are a person who is just drifting by, all you will tend to attract is drifters. You are in the drivers seat. It’s your life and your future. Be the you that you know you can be. Drama always attracts more drama.
Stay open-minded. This should be a no brainer but for some reason it isn’t. Every single day our world changes. There’s a reason that technology is always evolving. We are all getting another day older. That fact doesn’t change. What has to change is that if you are stuck in the past, you will never be part of the future. When I was in Asian countries, I had the unique opportunity to see innovative technology that is already here but we aren’t using because of lack of funds. The transformer mentality is not just for the comics. It’s happening in real life. Technology is becoming so advanced that we can’t keep up. Churches and other institutions that don’t like change are being forced to re-evaluate worship due to the pandemic. If we stay stuck in the we don’t want to change mode, we will never understand what this world or the people in it have to offer.
If knowledge is power, then make sure you surround yourself with those who are willing to share knowledge. Be like a sponge. Soak up everything that you can with those who study their craft. My mom is a nurse. I have almost no comprehension of the medical world but by being willing to learn from her, I now understand why certain medical conditions happen and how to help get the right treatments for those conditions. I hope and pray that none of you ever have to deal with any type of cancer, but if you do, I truly hope you can surround yourselves with friends who are willing to grow with you by learning everything you can about the kind of cancer or disease you are facing and they help you to fight. I was blessed. I had a couple of great friends, along with my mom who helped me fight my dad’s cancer. We lost the war but gained so much knowledge along the way. For that, I’m eternally grateful that they never gave up on me even when I was so tired and agitated that I wasn’t any fun to be around.
The truth is our friends and frenemies make us stronger. They give us balance and more importantly, they give us our compass as to where we want to be in our lives. So if you have true friends, treasure them. If you have people who are friends but not that close, learn from them and if you have frenemies, be grateful for them. Because they are the ones who give you more stamina than you ever thought you could have. So to the people who have wronged me over the year, I may forgive you but I am very glad that you pulled the stunts you did. Because in the long run, I will go farther than I ever thought possible due to those who made it feel like things were impossible. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are not worth the sand under your feet. We were born to shine. It’s your turn. Keep shining, keep going, and keep your friends close along the way.