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