It’s been a long handful of weeks for me. Between finals week, the holiday season, catching up with people, doing podcast interviews, and training, I’m glad that I’ve finally found the time to convey a new message. This is one that I’ve chewed on for a while because I came up with it in my brain and had to figure out a way to articulate my thoughts. I think this is a valuable way to think about relationship building and doing good for others, which is appropriate for Christmas being this week.
Often times you hear people say something about their “inner circle,” or their group of people that they have close relationships with. I’m sure you have a group of people off the top of your head that you think of when you hear that as well.
But, think about if you physically took those people and dropped them together into a literal circle. Essentially, picture a mosh pit corral of the people in your life that you’re closest with. It doesn’t make much sense, really. There’s no sense of order, direction, or clarity, which then translates to how you handle your relationships.
When I think of relationships with the people in my life, I think of my inner circle as an inner star. Five points that allow you to keep your closest relationships together, yet separated, yielding clarity in building those relationships. Let me break it down for you…
In the top point of the star is ‘God’. Both symbolically and literally. He is where everything starts. Every problem, dispute, moment of failure, moment of appreciation, feeling of gratefulness, etc. is shared with Him. He is also the only point of the star that you can have full faith in, He can be counted on every time He is needed. Start with building that relationship in order to build the others.
The two side points of the star, sticking out to the left and right are ‘family’ and ‘friendship’. They’re above the other two categories, yet below God, and in most instances they are equal. These are the people who you share emotional connections with, those who know everything, those who you open up to, those who you confide in. But, in this, you express yourself differently to each group, respectively, therefore making them equal but separate. The best attributes and love of friends are typically manifested in a different way than family, but both are just as important in making us who we are.
The bottom two points of the star are ‘common goal’ and ‘mentorship’. Common goal incorporates those on the same mission as you. For an athlete, that’s their teammates. For most, it’s their co-workers or classmates. Let me be clear in saying that this is not everyone that you play or work with. Even in a team setting, we all don’t always have the same common goals. Be careful of engaging with distractors and those on a different path. Welcome those who will make you better because they want what you want, and build relationships in accomplishing those goals. Mentorship is everyone to sit back and learn from. These are the bosses, coaches, doctors, role models, and figures that always have your ear for advice. Again, this isn’t just anyone, it’s the most impactful for you and your journey, it’s who inspires your motor to run. If you think of the bottom two points of a star as legs, they symbolically are exactly that… the people that help you get to where you want to go.
Now, those definitions are vague, and you may be sitting there thinking, “what if my parents are my mentors?” or “I can’t be friends with my co-workers?” But, people can certainly absorb more than one role situationally. For example, family members can be friends, teammates, or mentors. There is certainly room for multiple roles to be fulfilled, the basis of separation is to help identify what those roles mean to you. In the end, there is only one point of the star that can fulfill every role for you, though, and that is God.
Conversely, when you are able to separate those closest to you based on what they mean to do, you then have a clearer vision of what to give to them. The intangibles you receive from family and friends are the same intangibles for you to reciprocate. By being able to identify who to gravitate towards to achieve your goals, those goals become more clear and attainable. When you acknowledge someone as a mentor, you acknowledge that you need to radiate a feeling of open-mindedness and respect in that relationship.
Of course, people will change, and therefore so do relationships. Not everyone in your inner star is going to stay there. Most probably won’t make it there, and that’s okay, too. Too often we try to appeal to everyone we meet, hang on to unrealistic relationships, or get caught up in how things used to be. There will always be shifts in who these people are, but your relationships will thrive if you can identify why the people in your inner star matter to you, and what you can do for each other to be successful. This method of thinking should help you to focus on bettering yourself and those around you, because it is much more defined than just ‘being close with someone’.
If you put yourself in the heart of the star, all of the points are equally accessible whenever you need them. Now, you just know which direction to go in and when. If in doubt, look up and talk to that guy.
Don’t just settle for anyone in your life. Welcome those that truly have a place in your star. Also think about where you fall in the stars of those around you, too. The more impactful our relationships are, the more wholesome we feel.
I hope you take this idea into this special Christmas week, and all throughout next year. Knowing who to celebrate with, who got you to success, who failed you, and who to rely on for support will ultimately help you be your best self.
God, family, friends, teammates and mentors.
Have a very Merry Christmas, I hope your hearts are filled even though your homes are not. Blessings always, I’ll be back soon,