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Huddle Up

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Ever thought about starting your own business and being your own boss? Or perhaps you have always dreamed of running a fortune 500 company and being in charge of hundreds of employees. Regardless of what it is that you would like to get done, you will need a strong supporting cast – a huddle. When I use the term “huddle up” I don’t mean go out to your nearest playground and intrude on the gathering of others. I am talking about finding others around you that have experience in achieving success, relying heavily on their advice, skills, and expertise to help you advance in your goals.

Put simply, a huddle is nothing more than the meeting of intelligent minds in order to achieve one common goal. In this week’s blog, I will offer three important reasons why you should huddle up. Because life is a team sport, gaining success independently is impossible. Accountability, like-mindedness, and constant encouragement from your supporting cast are three very vital elements that you should seek out in every successful huddle.

One of the most motivating factors in successfully completing goals is accountability. Your overall success falls squarely on the shoulders of you taking control of your own destiny. It is important to see your own objectives and goals through to the end. Important factors such as completing deadlines and performing your due diligence on projects should be your responsibility alone. But a supporter of your dreams will help keep you focused and in aligned to the course that you have set. Finding others that care about you enough to hold you accountable to your ambitions are those you should have and keep in your huddle. It is also a way to receive feedback on how well you are living up to your own goals. A strong huddle makes you believe that you are a part of something much larger than yourself. Having those individuals that hold you accountable to that belief is the key ingredient to how well you will accomplish your goals.

Being part of a team in which the dynamics are of like- minded individuals; much can be greatly accomplished. There is true strength in numbers and those numbers should complement one another. One great thing about working with those that share the same mentality is the ability to draw from one another strengths. If you have ever tried to attempt to carry out a certain goal on your own, then you know hard it can be. A strong huddle of individuals that think just as you do with the same common goal can be a competitive advantage like none other.

In achieving your dreams times will certainly get rough. Uncertainty, fear, doubt, and anxiousness are all negative characteristics that could make any individual second guess his or her ability. These are times in which huddling up is indeed necessary. These networks of individuals will aide you in carrying the load of your battles with encouraging words. Having kind words of wisdom shared by others that have already experienced what you are now facing, will offer a haven of hope which can place things in perspective.

Once you find those good members that you trust to be in your huddle, spend time with them on a consistent basis. A good huddle doesn’t require great numbers to operate as a system of support. If you can find one or even two people that are willing to help you strategize a plan to your ultimate success, then you are putting yourself in a winning advantage. Someone that will give you an honest, but constructive opinion about your operation and procedures is someone that you most definitely need on your team. A great huddle will help you find, keep, and maintain your game plan to success. Next time you find yourself hung up on a situation that slows or stops your momentum, just simply huddle up. I’m pretty confident that someone around you that you trust may have been in a similar position. Their advice could shed much light on the issue at hand.

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

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Learning the Tricks of Transition: Four Basic Principles of Successful Transitions

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Learning the Tricks of Transition: Four Basic Principles of Successful Transitions
Transition can be a very exciting time in your life. Those of us that yearn to be successful look forward to wonderful and new opportunities in which we can showcase our true gifts and talents. New jobs, new places, with new faces can create a much needed change of pace and scenery that can be beneficial to achieving your overall goals. More than the opportunity itself, it is very critical on how you handle the transition that’s most important. Transitions can be tricky. There are plenty of unknowns that come into play when dealing with a new experience. Adjusting to new surroundings can be difficult at times but with the right frame of mind success in your new transition is fully capable. In this week’s blog I will discuss the importance of continuing your momentum, remaining open and flexible, fulfilling your due diligence, and lastly, taking an observer’s approach to handle your transition process efficiently. Sometimes learning from others can be the best education. With that being said, I openly share some my experiences from my past, in the event that it may help you with your opportunities of transition in the future.

I’d like you to first think of a time when you were trying to secure that job you really wanted. You updated your resume, scoured Linked In for new contacts, and even attended numerous networking events – and after all of your hard work, you got the job! Then you gave your two weeks’ notice and took the job – but afterwards you fell back into that “same ole” routine of being satisfied with where you were. Establishing momentum to your desired destination is a key element to your transition. However, keeping that same momentum is just as critical. The same vigor and desire that you posed while trying to achieve one transition, should be the same enthusiasm and drive you implement while transitioning through each phase of your plan. Complacency and contentment can certainly become a recipe for unhappiness that will leave you feeling unsatisfied in life. Momentum is an element of success that is very hard to establish in the first place, but once it’s lost it’s even harder to regain.

Always remain flexible when transitioning into something new. Almost nothing ever works out in the exact manner that we plan for things to happen. I always leave room for the possibility of blunders in a transition. I welcome you to remember that during transitions, the variables aren’t your enemy, but a source of strength if you allow it to be. It is during these times you will need to improvise and think fast to accommodate the changes thrown at you. Believe me when I say the problem can frustrate you beyond belief. To find an alternate plan of action a rational state mind will definitely be required. Exercising patience and maintaining a calm demeanor will aid you in finding positive resolutions to whatever situations your transition will bring.

Before you think about transitioning make certain that you exercise due diligence. Now you may ask “What do you mean by due diligence?” You should map out and plan as much as you can on your own. Preparation is the name of the game and staying ahead of obstacles will assist you greatly in the long run. For instance, before quitting your current situation to pursue your dream career, check to make sure you have enough savings to hold you over until you secure your golden opportunity. Or if are seeking to enter a new field, do your research. Know what skills and education are needed. You get where I am going with this point. To drive home my point, let me share a true story with you. It was only a few years ago in which I was presented with a seemingly great opportunity from someone I knew and trusted well. At the time I worked in the field of education as a special education teacher. This new opportunity consisted of me relocating and continuing my teaching and football coaching career. I packed all of my things and made the move from Virginia to Atlanta without having all of the details of my transition outlined and confirmed. To my surprise, I arrived to find that the job I was promised was no longer available because I apparently didn’t meet the requirements that were needed for the position. You can only imagine how I was sick with severe frustration. As much as I wanted to blame someone else for leading me astray, I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. I failed to do my due diligence in my own transition. I didn’t ask the right questions from the right people. That particular situation had steep consequences and it ended up taking me quite some time to recover. It now serves as a valuable lesson for all my future endeavors. I hope my lesson can serve as a lesson for you too.

Lastly, when facing a new transition, take an observer’s approach to your new surroundings. Keeping your eyes and ears open when first experiencing something new will allow you to observe the true dimensions of your situation. One the most important elements of a new transition is acclimating to the new individuals you will meet. There will be personalities that will vary from one end of the spectrum to the other, but knowing how to deal with them will be essential to your success. Building a rapport with others helps to build favor among those that you will work closely with. People more than any other factor in a new transition will either be your number one nemesis or your saving grace. More importantly than the transition itself, your new adventure will give you the opportunity to let your light shine on others and be a true blessing in someone else’s life. Oftentimes we get caught up in trying to understand how our new ventures can better assist us in your own life, rather than trying to place ourselves in a position to help. New opportunities are great but you will get more out of your new transition by learning how to also serve others. I encourage you to go for the gold and shoot for the moon and the stars in accomplishing your lifelong goals. But always keep in mind of the overall picture in understanding the specific purpose for where God has placed you. You are exactly where God wants you to be for a very specific reason. When we can illustrate to God that we have handled our current blessing to the maximum potential, then God will see fit to grant you new opportunities.

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

The Gift That Keeps on Giving: The Gift of Encouragement

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Today we celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year – Christmas! This day tends to embody the spirit of giving across the world between family and loved ones. More importantly, families will receive an opportunity to share good times with those they rarely get a chance to see on a consistent basis. I, myself, will receive the chance to interact with my own loved ones and catch up on the current events in their lives. I certainly look forward to the familiar faces and the loving hugs and kisses that the holidays bring. To share time and love with family and friends is one of God’s greatest gifts that He has given to the world.

Another one of God’s great gifts is the gift of encouragement. The wonderful thing about this gift is you can share a nice and gentle word of praise at any time of the year. Words of encouragement doesn’t just serve the purpose of helping an individual through their toughest times, but it also has the ability to serve for a lifetime far beyond current problems and situations. Words of kindness are like planting seeds into fertile ground.

Although they may take time to bear witness the fruits of your labor, with a little time and patience, your words could pay handsome dividends in the future.
Growing up, my father was the most influential person in my life. He always believed in my abilities and talents, particularly in athletics, even before I ever had any idea of what my greatest gifts were. . I recall my father taking long drives into my hometown with my brother and me. He would use this time to impart his great wisdom and knowledge into the young and impressionable minds of me and my brother. In this particular instance, I was about 10 years old. My dad was never hesitant about sharing his thoughts and what he believed his vision for his children’s’ lives should be. On this particular day he was sharing with me his thoughts about how he envisioned my career as a football player. His words were “You are big, fast, and strong. You have the tools to be as good as you want to be. There is no excuse when it is all said and done that you can’t be an All-American if you work hard.” At ten years of age it was extremely difficult to understand the level of expectation that was just laid before me in that conversation. I hadn’t even played one single game of organized football yet and I was already an All- American in the eyes of my father.

The most incredible thing to me at that point in time and presently is that my father believed in me before I knew to believe in myself. That’s what strong words of encouragement can provide to any individual. My father provided me with an exact direction for my life according to the ability that he observed in me. The seeds were, indeed, planted and with time and patience the fruits of my father’s words would surely reap the harvest that he envisioned. I definitely encountered struggles in my quest to pursue my All- American status, especially in my adolescent and teenage years, but my father’s words always remained prevalent in my mind. As it was important for me to not deviate from the path that I felt was placed before me. Those words helped me through every single tough and challenging situation that I would face along the way.

One day during my senior year of college my head coach called me into his office. That was never a good sign, but
I always maintained a good reputation and worked my hardest to keep my nose clean and stay out of trouble, so I was confident that it had nothing to do with any disciplinary action. As I entered his office, he wore a half smile on his face. He was a tough; no non-sense type of coach, so the fact that he had an inkling of a smile on his face meant that he was well over joyed and proud of something. His first words were “Congratulations.” He then showed me the All- American selections that regularly came out right before each season began. As I begin to hear the words of my father replay in my mind, there it was my name in bold print “Aaron DeBerry 2003 Sporting News FCS All- American Team Honorable Mention.” The shock and amazement that roared within me was probably the most overwhelming experience that I had ever felt since playing the game of football. My father passed away long before he and I had a chance to celebrate the joy and happiness of his very words 11 years prior. I, wholeheartedly, feel it only happened because he spoke those words of encouragement and greatness into my life.

If I had to a chose a crucial time or period in which I made a conscious decision to be great, it would have to be during that conversation with my father at ten years old. He planted a seed in my heart that made me believe that I could achieve all that he thought I could achieve. The craziest part of it all was that I was silly enough to attempt to live up to his words with no clear idea of what would happen or where it would take me in the end. I also had no idea of the disappointments and heart breaks I would suffer along the way either, but it didn’t matter. Regardless of the obstacle that was placed in front of me, I still had important business to take care of. My father gave me specific instructions and getting them accomplished was the only thing that mattered, simply because he told me I could do it.

When you speak life into another person’s dreams, ambitions, and goals you never know the impact of your very words. Sometimes, all it takes is a few words of thoughtfulness from an influential person in your life to jump start your journey. We all need and should welcome words of encouragement to follow our dreams. Although my father served as the pioneer of setting the standard for my dreams, he wasn’t the only individual to assist me along the way. Once the course of your success is set, you must stay the course. That certainly takes many individuals along the way to keep you focused and determined to see your goals fulfilled.

My career as a player is certainly over. Never in my wildest dreams would I think I would be able to take advantage of some the opportunities that I have had a chance to experience in my life thus far. Currently, my sole purpose is to pour that same level of encouragement and focus into the players that I come in contact with now. More than just being a football coach, my number one purpose on this earth is to inspire, influence, nurture, and empower the dreams of others in the same fashion that my father provided to me. The greatest feeling for me at the conclusion of every school year is knowing that I was given the opportunity to share a moment in time by offering encouragement and guidance to another maturing young man. As they get older there will come a moment in time in which they will then be responsible to pass on the same words of encouragement and guidance to a younger generation – the same way that I and others before me have had an opportunity to give to them. Thus, the gift that keeps on giving. The great thing about providing encouraging words is that you don’t need to be a coach, like myself or a in a position of leadership. Kind words can simple but powerful. They breathe life to failing dreams and strength into stagnant ambitions. Decide in your heart today to be the reason for someone dreams by offering strong words of encouragement. Your deeds will continue to bless those far beyond your reach. May God bless you and your family today, and I hope have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Written by Coach DeBerry

The Elements of Foresight – Piecing Together your Puzzle of Ultimate Success

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One of my favorite past times as a child was putting together puzzles. I vividly remember my mother and I taking trips to purchase these puzzles. It was during the ride back home, I waited with high anticipation to arrive and start putting them together. The greatest part of putting together each puzzle is that we already knew what the completed puzzle would look like before we even started because of the eye catching picture glazed on the front of the box. The next step involved me collecting my pieces to the puzzle and carefully arranging them correctly to create the perfect picture.
Those puzzles back then can now be compared to the path of success OR life, itself! In contrast, the actual puzzles weren’t as hard. Piecing together the puzzles of ultimate success is easier said than done. Thinking back to my childhood days, there were countless times I picked up the puzzle pieces and attempted to place them, but they did not fit. As expected, I became frustrated. In turn, that frustration would manifest itself in me trying to force the wrong piece into an incorrect position. I can say the same about my life as well. In the attempting to completion of my goals I have been guilty of trying to force pieces of my goals together that definitely don’t fit hoping and wishing that things would somehow workout. In a haste to complete my goals, I have been guilty of trying to force the pieces of my path together – hoping things would, somehow, work out in my favor. I can also admit to being guilty of not knowing what to do with certain pieces of my aspirations, ultimately deeming them as undesirable and placing them to the side for later, when, they were key ingredients to my success. In my maturity, I learned to temporarily take a step back from some situations and analyze what is actually being offered to me as it deals with the completion of my goals and how it will assist me in building that picture I saw on the puzzle box. I call this the gift of foresight. In this week’s blog I will discuss how to apply the gift of foresight to build your puzzle to completion without delay or destruction of your overall goals.
My life has been filled with many different goals that I have achieved. I refer to my goals as puzzles because every goal that I have been blessed to accomplish all came in pieces. In reflecting back, I can truly say that not all of my goals were easily achieved, provided a straight path to success, or even just fell into my lap. While some of my puzzles were quick and easy to build, most were rather challenging, tough to complete, had a lesson to be learned, and sometimes involved a very influential person who proved to be crucial to the completion of my puzzle. But just like building an actual puzzle, no directions or instructions are ever included. There was just the picture on the box to refer to, which made the completion of my goal that much more rewarding in the end.
In every goal that I have achieved, I’ve been able to perfectly envision what it looked and felt like before it was ever completed. Some may call this a vision. Another person may say it is mere intuition, but I most definitely view this gift as having a very strong sense of foresight. Foresight is defined as the ability to predict or the action of predicting what will happen or be needed in the future.
As I previously stated, I have had experience in dealing with pieces of my goal that were initially undesirable, mainly because I had no idea how they fit into the reaching of my overall goal. Let’s take a look at a recent event that occurred in my life. I was contacted by a head coach that originally recruited me out of high school. We have always kept in touch through the years. He invited me for a meeting with him to discuss the details of a job offer. I agreed and met with him and overall the meeting went well. However, he didn’t offer me the kind of salary I knew I deserved. I’m sure most of you have gone into an interview with a preconceived notion about how things would go, and if your reality/expectation didn’t match up with that offer, we instantly threw a wall up and voided out the rest of the interview. Well, that’s what happened to me, except I continued to listen attentively to the rest of the terms of the job offer this time. Initially, I was shocked that he wasn’t offering me anywhere in the neighborhood of what I thought I should be earning. I must admit I had to gain back my composure. I was caught off guard! Once I gathered my thoughts, I refocused and begin to see the bigger picture and how it all would prove to be one of the perfect puzzle pieces to my overall success plan. He understood that he wasn’t offering much money in the first place, so he offered me the freedom in the summer to work at other football camps around the country on the major college football level to earn more money. In addition, he also offered me a chance to create my own camp, something I have always wanted to do, but I never had the money, resources, or as of recently, the time. Because I applied the foresight to see the bigger picture of the plan, I now have this chance that will allow more amazing opportunities to come my way and apply my actual know how to create a successful football camp. The most important piece of the puzzle that he offered was a vital contact that can assist me with my future goal of becoming a head coach one day. You see the coach that was I met with is a very well connected man in the football industry. But there is one very important person that he is great friends with that I foresee will be of great importance to my future transition of becoming a head football soon. I have a very strong conviction that one day I will cross paths with this gentleman and we will form a great rapport that will enable me to complete my puzzle of becoming a head coach. Although, nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen, I’m willing to bet that my foresight about this particular move is pretty accurate. Without the proper foresight, this opportunity which proved to be a crucial piece of the puzzle, that I would have been passed up due to my need for immediate gain and satisfaction, instead of the ultimate success that I will have in the future.
You have to remember that foresight is, indeed, a gift, and we all have the ability to apply it. When tackling my goals, I am a very attentive to the details and heavily focused about how everything can and will turn out. But that’s what it takes when attempting to accomplish your major life goals. You can’t afford mistakes in your judgment and decision making when getting goals completed. Ultimately, without the gift of foresight you are blindly leading yourself down a path that is not only uncertain, but also uncalculated. Sure, things will pop up that you didn’t envision happening along the way. Don’t be deterred as that’s just part of your test of persevering through the adverse moments. In closing, remember that the greatest thing about applying your foresight to a goal is that you already know how your hard work and endurance through tough times will work out. All you have to do is see it through to the end. Trust me, it will be all worth it.

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

Getting Back to the Basics

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As a college football coach you will definitely sacrifice a great deal in this profession.  Oftentimes, there may be a game to prepare for or a major recruit on the radar that we are diligently seeking to secure to our team.  Currently, it is recruiting season. At any given time I may be responsible for the recruitment of over 50 players.  I have to constantly be in contact with them all in hopes that we will be able to sign them to a scholarship in February and become part of our team.  With the recruitment of 50 players very rarely do I have time for myself or to enjoy time off uninterrupted.  So there are many sacrifices that one must be ready to deal with when deciding to take on the job of coaching. No matter the level, the demands are great in this profession.

Like all things in life, you have consequences and rewards.  I have found that the rewards of coaching are superb!   I get to coach a sport that I absolutely love and am passionate about while simultaneously working with young people, in which I witness their growth and maturity firsthand.

Then there are the consequences of being a coach, especially on the college and professional level.  I rarely get to see my family and friends.   I am generally tasked with taking trips to various areas across the country.  Quite frankly, for a while now I have been many miles away from those near and dear to me. I often miss out on moments in life that just can’t get be relived.

Just like coaching, there are many other careers that require great amounts of time and energy in which major sacrifices have to be made on a continual basis.   On the path to success we can easily get caught up and become distracted from the things that we tend to value most in life.  I can’t help it or deny it.  I’m a dream chaser!  But there are times when chasing dreams, I have experienced a plethora of feelings of loneliness, isolation, and sometimes shear unhappiness. In this case one must make the decision to what I call “get back to the basics”.  Success is great and it certainly has its wonderful rewards.  But if we neglect to live a life that excludes our loved ones in the pursuit of success, then it may be time for a moment of self-evaluation.  Hopefully this week’s blog will begin the process of that evaluation. So without further ado, I would like explore how to get back to enjoying those meaningful moments with the ones that we love and cherish the most.

I was once involved in a relationship with a young lady that was very accomplished at a very young age.  For the sake of anonymity, I will call her Lauren.  Lauren was a store manager for one of the largest bridal retail stores in the country at the age of 31.  She was definitely doing well for herself.  She lived in a nice apartment in an upscale neighborhood, drove a nice car, always dressed to impress, and was compensated very well for doing her duties as a store manager.  Outside looking in, she had the appearance of being at the top of her profession in the retail industry.  At first glance, this would be an opportunity to die for, but I had an up close and personal view of the dissatisfaction and emptiness that she encountered while working in this position.  Lauren’s job dictated so much of her life during this time.  She could never enjoy her days off.  Someone was always calling from the store giving her updates about what was going on throughout the day and bad news was almost always inevitable and the focal point of the update.  We all know that Black Friday connotes the kickoff of the holiday shopping season and is the busiest time of the year.  Well in contrast, in the wedding industry, Lauren’s kickoff was known as “Bridal Christmas,” which was our busiest time of the year and this happened immediately after New Year’s Day.  I say “our” because I feel as if I lived through just as much, if not all of the bridal drama as Lauren during this time.  You couldn’t imagine the endless number of stories that I could share with you that I heard over the years of Bridal Christmas.   I am sure I could create another blog for all the bridal nightmare stories that were relayed to me over the three year span of our relationship.

Lauren’s professional life was so overwhelming that trying to maintain some type of social life for herself was almost impossible.  She always enjoyed going to church on Sunday morning but even that took a backseat.  She either worked on Sunday’s or was too tired from work the previous night to get up and enjoy something that used to be so fulfilling.  Miraculously, one day Lauren decided to no longer allow her job to dictate her life. She put together a plan of action which included enrolling into graduate school to get her Master’s degree in Business Administration. Lauren consciously made a decision to get back to the basics of life. Two years later she graduated with her MBA and she now enjoys a life of uninterrupted weekends and  a wonderful position in the banking industry that provides a great deal of work –life balance.  Although she isn’t where she would ultimately like to be in her career, having her life back and within her control again to enjoy the time with family and friends is more than enough for her.

Do you find Sunday fellowship with your parents, weekend cookouts with co-workers, or even birthday celebrations with loved ones are now taking a backseat and are no longer life’s greatest pleasures for you?  Is time spent with friends like a distant memory since starting your new job? Has your new position caused you to spend less time with your children?  If you are going to be successful, then sacrifices must be made, but to what extent will you continue to make these sacrifices?  Only you can answer these questions and make the needed changes of getting back to the basics.  Like the majority of the decisions that you will make in your life, you have the power to change the outcome if you truly desire to change them.  Like Lauren, you have the power to decide, create an action plan, implement, and most of all enjoy the fruits of your decisions!  Success is great and we should all be in hot pursuit of our ultimate and best life, but with all things, we should set limitations on how much we are willing to give up to obtain the level of success we seek desperately.

It is the basics of life that serve as the foundation of our souls.   Life is nothing without the basics such as; love, peace, family, great health, balance, and unprecedented memories with family and friends.  The universe doesn’t want you to correlate success with giving up the basics of our hearts.   Real success will always offer you the chance and opportunities to enjoy the things that are held dear in our lives.  Always keep in mind that there is a thin line between financial gain and success.  In the realm of financial gain, life will continue to always dictate every move and monopolize your time; hence a diminishing value in the “basics of life.”

I encourage you to stop and smell the roses while they are still blooming.  Time goes by fast and if you never stop to enjoy the products of our success then much of the work that you have done is truly in vain.  I’m not only speaking to you, but also to myself.  As I vow to get back to the basics in my own life, hopefully you will join me in doing the same.  Let’s get back to the fellowship on our days of worship, spending more time with the friends and family, and most of all investing in our own interest.  We should never be too busy to take care of ourselves or enjoy the precious time with our loved ones.  You will be happy that you did and you will be a different person because of it. Let’s get back to the basics!

Written By Coach  Aaron DeBerry

A Word of Thanks to my “Get in the huddle” Followers

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Dear my “Get in the Huddle” followers,

 

I would like to take this time to say thank you for following my “Get in the Huddle” blog.  It has truly been amazing at the responses that I have gotten in reaction to the material that I have posted so far.  This has been a unique process of writing and sharing my personal thoughts in such a public nature, but if my experiences has the ability to help others grow, then I certainly don’t mind being an instrument in which growth and maturity can occur.  Please feel free to share the material with as many people as you can.  Whether it be through facebook, twitter, bulletin boards, or a regular email forward, let others know the good news of motivation and inspiration through “Get in the Huddle”.  Also, feel free to comment and give feedback on each weekly post as well.  Once again, thank you so much and I really look forward to bringing more inspiration in the upcoming weekly post.

 

Coach Aaron DeBerry

Show me your Friends and I will Show you your Future

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In my first year of college I had a well renowned coach that was very much respected in the coaching profession.  He had spent a considerable amount of time coaching in the NFL before he came to coach at Liberty University, where I attended college.  Coach Sam Rutigliano was his name, and coach spoke with great wisdom about football and everyday life.  Coach Sam is what he called him and coach always had very wonderful and profound sayings that he would use to illustrate his points.  I can remember this saying just like it was yesterday.  In this particular instance he was talking about the conversations he would have with his own children as they were growing up and maturing as young adults.  He was talking to them about how critical their decisions in choosing good friends was such a vital part in their individual success as adults and he was now sharing the same conversation with us as his players.  Coach Sam made this statement 13 years ago and it has always stuck with me through the years.  The saying that he made that day was “show me your friends and I will show you your future”.  The older I have become the more I began to understand the true meaning of that statement.   Having strong, driven, and trustworthy friends on your side is a great asset to have in achieving your goals.  On the contrast weak, unreliable, and non-motivated friends are liabilities that keep you from attaining those same goals.  Very rare do we sit and think about our friends and how they either help or hurt our opportunities of accomplishing the great things that we envision for our lives.  In this week’s blog we will explore the two and how they relate to your greatness, and sometimes our failures.

In my older years as an adult I started to understand that our friends should play a major role in our success.  If real true success is what you are after, then it is important that your friendships represent your journey.  The road to success is a hard and tough road to travel but it can be even tougher without the appropriate guide to help us along the way.  Great friends help and support our journey with the ability to pass on helpful advice or a helpful favors that will better position you in achieving your goals.  Too many times I have involved myself with friendships that were totally one sided.  I like helping people, especially the ones that I call my good friends.  If I am in the position to help someone then I most definitely try to do my part in the friendship.  At times I got myself in trouble when I would humbly ask a favor and in return I would get nothing but excuses and flat out lies about why my favor couldn’t be accommodated.  Small favors like , asking a friend of mine to make a phone call on my behalf to a well known coach in the business or an introduction to a major decision maker at a university would seem like harmless favors to me but I guess I was wrong.  I’ve been hurt by that routine more than a few times and it made me adjust my outlook on how I choose my friends.

I had to become more honest with myself.  I came to the conclusion that not many of friends shared the same ambition as I do when it came to their own success.  That was indeed a problem and probably the reasoning for why my favors had gone unfulfilled.  They didn’t value their own success so it was silly of me to think that they would value mine and it was up to me to address the issue.  Not all friendship are meant to last.  Things change and people indeed grow, but at times we continually attempt to hold on to people that are no longer suitable for the direction in which we are attempting to travel in life.  I came to a point in which I had let go and move on from friendships that were no longer compatible to my ambitions and drive for success.  I found myself in positions where I was doing mostly all the helping and assisting in my friendships and it was time to reevaluate my role in those friendships.  Friendships are no different from any other partnership that you enter.  Everyone has a role to play in a partnership and the only way a partnership can grow is if everyone play their individual part in it.

It may sound harsh but I don’t hide from my current change in my personality towards finding and keeping key friendships that represent my success.  I didn’t like what I saw in some of my friends, so I sought out a way of correcting my situation.  I made a decision to move on from some old friendships to make room for my new ones.  Currently, when I seek out new friendships, I must see something in that individual that either reminds me of myself or that individual has an attribute that I would like to learn from.  I’m not ashamed nor afraid to ask anyone for assistance.  We all need mentors and sometime the only way to find one is to seek them out.  Well accomplished individuals don’t just fall in your lap.  Like mostly everything else that you will attain, you must seek out mentors that are willing to share with you their experiences that have afforded them the success that you now seek.  Not everyone is willing though.  I’ve been rejected several times in my quest to find a good mentor and that’s fine with me.  It doesn’t discourage me from continuing to seek out assistance in my quest to success.  It only takes one person to see something in you that could serve as the right assistance that you may need.  With the right people in place as an adviser and with the right opportunities you could possibly accomplish goals and dreams that you have only dreamed of.  And that’s my motivation to continue to seek out those that are where I would like to be in the future.

There is nothing wrong with growth but your friends should represent that same growth.  I’m talking through experience when it comes to this particular subject.  Very recently I had to make some decisions on some of my friends that I cared for deeply.  It was a hard and tough decision to make and I still hurt from my decision at times but my decision represents the value in which I place my success.  If it served as a distraction, then I had to let go and not look back.  The tougher the challenge that you face, the more discipline and focused you must be to meet your challenge.  An insufficient friendship is something at the least that I care to focus on as I battle my challenges.  Strong friendships place you in the right frame of mind to accomplish the unimaginable.  We should find incredible strength, inspiration, and the courage to carry on from our friends.  So, as I encourage you to make better decisions about the friendships you entertain, I also encourage you to be that friend that other ambitious individuals could learn from as well.

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry