WoW, February is flying by and I hope you are enjoying the incredible month of LoVe! February’s theme: 4 types of relationships that are necessary besides a romantic one continues to permeate through my brain. We have tackled relationships with mentors as well as a relationship with yourself.
The third type of relationship necessary for personal and professional growth are friendships! Yes, good ol friends. Or, as the millennial generation frequently calls it, a squad. You know, a great squad can make or break your ambition, since friends have so much influence in our lives. When you get to a certain age, you begin to value friendships differently. There is a shift from quantity to quality and you will often hear more seasoned people say, “all you need is one friend”. I mean, the qualifications of a friend change tremendously as you get older!
I’m sure you’ve been told to watch the people you hang around or the company you keep. It’s one of the well-known sayings that wise people pass on, though younger generations can hardly grasp the concept. I mean, I have NEVER understood the notion that your friends are a collective sum of you. (SMH) After hearing it numerous times in young adulthood, it still remained a mystery…how is that so, I can hang around them and not do what they do.
But finally, in my professional and personal life, this is starting to make sense. You mean if I look at my closest friends I can see characteristics of myself. Better yet, I can look internally and notice characteristics that parallel with my closest friends. It’s finally clear…if your squad is lazy, gossiping all time, and making little progress in life they will not motivate you! So, there is a natural expectation that you will engage in some of these traits as well. Professional friends are the same. Look closely and consider professionals around you…what are their goals and aspirations? How do they reflect or mirror you?
Will Smith recently posted a viral video where he prompted his followers to look at the last five people they texted and evaluate if those people nourished and inspired them. Do these five-people feed your flames? He asked. What a great question to ask of your squad! Does your squad feed your flames? Do they pour into you, inspiration or nourishment for your well-being?
Some of us have old friends who have been with us for quite some time. We love their entertainment and chats about what’s going on in the world and on TV. But what is important to chat about when you are seeking to grow personally and professionally is NOT news and TV. Conversations about the latest fashion or football game won’t help you progress. The latest episode of a show will not help you get ahead in life. You need a SQUAD who is going to pour into you so much that you are motivated to keep at it another day.
When you’re looking to build and maintain solid friendships that help you progress in life, look for these
Friends who share knowledge. Are your friends pouring into you by sharing their knowledge on specific topics? It important to have friends who can share resources that teach and develop you. I often receive sermons, podcasts, articles, and tools from my friends that are applicable to my life. Sharing a FB or IG video is awesome for your entertainment, but your friends should be sharing valuable knowledge that will help you excel. Your squad should ALWAYS seek to increase knowledge, apply what is relevant, and develop tools and resources to succeed. THIS, is nourishment!
Friends who tell you the truth. As a professional, in any workplace or business, having people who will tell you the truth about YOU is imperative. Unfortunately, but fortunately, this is a friend’s responsibility. It is time out for YES men and friends who agree with everything you do because they do not want to upset you. At this point in life, your friends should be comfortable with being honest with you. If you can handle the heat and push through by self-reflecting, you will greatly appreciate the honesty of close friends because it can hugely increase your development. Hopefully, your squad can tell you things in a compassionate way but that’s a plus! Learning the truth about yourself can be hard, so do not allow it to jeopardize the friendship.
Friends who listen. Listening and staying quiet while someone expresses themselves are two different things. Do you have friends who can hear what is NOT being said? Friends who can identify emotions that may be connected to what you are expressing? When you have arrived at a certain point personally and professionally, having a squad or close friend who can reflect back any feelings and underlying issues is sooooo beneficial. This aids in your overall growth and can often impact you to make informed decisions that are not based on emotions.
Friends who promote you. Listen, if you have a business, working in a great position, have a superb skillset, or you’re just killing it in life… friends should be promoting you. I am surely grateful for having friends to boast about and brag on. I recommend them for opportunities and promote them every time I get a chance. I might even tag them in something on social media if it could be beneficial. To increase personal and professional growth, you NEED a squad who promotes you and celebrates your successes.
Friends who cause you to think deeper or do research. When you get off that phone call and you think to yourself “man I need to go look that up”, Yasssssssss! When you are fully ready to reach higher levels in life, there is a research and discovery mode that accompanies this period. Conversations with friends should lead to more research and discovery that increases knowledge and fills gaps. If your squad isn’t inquisitive with you…it may be time to rethink that squad.
*Live your Goal Drive Life*
P.S.-Thank you for all of the feedback and responses on previous February posts as it is great hearing how you connect with mentors and increase self-love and self-care!