I went on a blind date this week.
Well, kind of.
Actually it wasn’t a blind date in the traditional – 2 people meeting to discover if they may be compatible because their mutual friends think they would be- blind date. But it was with people, three actually, that I didn’t know and we were meeting for the first time. On a specific time on a calendar – thus appropriately falling into the category of both blind and date.
We were set up by someone that thought we would get along because of shared interests. We had emailed a few times before our meeting. I didn’t know where they lived or what they looked like. I didn’t know their age or what they did for a living. Felt pretty blind to me.
I woke up on the morning of our date feeling excited and nervous. We would be meeting on ZOOM because Covid and well – we do live in four different states. Our date was set for 10 a.m. so I had time to exercise and get some work done before we would all pop on each others screens. I prayed for peace and wisdom to discern if this was a good match. I wondered if this is what it always feels like before a blind date.
At promptly 10 am CST three new to me faces popped on my screen along side mine. We were off to a good start – we all showed up! Our eager smiles held the same look of anticipation. It seemed as if we all wanted to discover that the others wanted this new relationship as much as we each personally did. We spent 30 minutes sharing our brief stories of work and family with the bulk of our time focused on the one thing that had brought us all together …..
the love of writing.
In December we each had made a commitment to be more intentional about our craft by joining a larger community of women made up of future writes, podcasters and speakers. When the opportunity arose to join a smaller community within the bigger for more accountability we each said “Sign me up!” We each listened to the still small voice that said ‘ go, do something more, be vulnerable, stretch!’ Can I tell you that hanging out with people like that is pretty fantastic?
When I started my business 17 years ago I was told that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with- choose your friends wisely. This thought emphasizes the power of your circle both for good or for bad. I have a runner friend who says the best way she can increase her speed is to simply run with people faster than her. Bottom line – the people you hang out with can greatly impact the trajectory of your life. The funny thing is – we know this to be true for children. Parents pray for good friends, they don’t want their children running with the ‘wrong crowd’. Protective fathers will run a potential suitor for their daughters through a gauntlet of questions to confirm they are good enough. There is a great deal of time and effort put into helping our children find the right people because we know the power of the five. Today I’m going to suggest that we revisit this idea…
I have an exercise I do with my team that has them list their people. The ones that have a say in their lives. The ones they work with, recreate with, live with. Next to each name they are to draw one of three symbols. Smiley face for those that fill them up. When these people leave their space they are encouraged. Sad face for those that bring them down. When they spend time with them they feel worse and notice less than stellar behavior. When I was first introduced to this idea I realized I had a small group of friends that spent their time bashing their husbands. Our play groups or lunch dates were filled with rants over what our husbands did or did not do. I’d find myself coming home from those situations feeling mad at my husband – even though he had done absolutely nothing wrong. The last symbol is a straight line – or neutral.
This always brings surprise to those that choose to honestly look at their tribe. For some it is encouraging. For others it is enlightening as they recognize the power of those around them. For still others it is distressing when they allow themselves to see the level of toxic behavior in the people closest to them. It provides an opportunity to make choices on how one spends ones time. There have been times when I’ve done this assessment over my life and I’ve realized I need a few more voices of people that look at things from a different perspective. I can get in a rut of how I think the world should be run. Looking at a situation from another angle can expand a much needed view of the world or it can confirm my original thought. The process of challenging our beliefs can give them deeper roots which brings confidence and peace. It’s a healthy and important practice.
When we look in scripture we see this idea confirmed. Abraham believed this when he sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac from among a God-fearing people. Isaac knew this when he sent Jacob to do the same. Your people, my people they make a difference.
So… my blind date. It went pretty well. By the end of our 30 minutes we had delegated responsibilities on which forms of media we would use to stay connected. In just the first few days of knowing each other we have decided to trust each other with our own need for accountability. I am reminded of the power of choosing your tribe wisely. When you invest and allow yourself to be invested by people of excellence you can’t help but get better. The very reason this blog is being written is because I told this group of friends that I was going to do it. Taking 30 seconds to leave a quick voice message asking for accountability is the one and only reason I looked for a time to write.
Three smiley faces for this crew.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.