Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens in the context of relationships. I don’t believe there are any self-made people. Along the way, successful people intersected with those whom saw glimpses of potential and helped them to discover, nurture and deploy the skills that eventually got them where they are. I know that’s how it happened with me. While the definition of “success” varies wildly, I consider myself successful: I have a strong faith, a great family, a viable business, and friends the world over. But I didn’t get here on my own for sure. There’s no way I could name on this post those who have made a difference in my life. But they fit 4 different relationship roles that have helped me succeed.
The coach. These are the teachers, coaches, trainers who believe in my abilities when I didn’t even believe myself. I remembered I teacher in college giving me a paper back without a grade. She looked me in the eyes and said “you’re so much better than this. Rewrite it.” I never had to rewrite another paper from then on, including 2 years of graduate school.
The mentor. Some things only experience can teach you, and mentors can help us not to learn the hard way. These relationships are difficult sometimes to establish but vital to personal growth. My first year in ministry I watched my boss, the Senior Pastor, take a verbal beating from an older church member because we did not arrive at the hospital before his wife went into surgery. The man was out of line and as I got ready to say something, Ron waved me away. Within seconds, the gentleman broke down, cried and apologized. I learned so much about human nature that day.
The sage. I desperately need wisdom. The Bible has so much to say about the importance of wisdom in our lives. Sometimes the words of the sage are not what I want to hear but they are life-saving. Once I was enthralled by a “big” business opportunity and was ready to pull the trigger. A sage told me to walk away. I didn’t want to. I was going to make a ton of money. Reluctantly I did. Later, I found out, had I gone ahead I would have lost everything. And I mean, everything.
The friend. Friends love you just because; they believe the best about you and do life with you even when you’re separated by distance. I have been blessed to work, run, exercise, and play with people I truly love. I don’t think I could live without friends.
Did I forget another type?