Throughout my many moves, I have been blessed to meet a great many people and make some great friends. People who cared about me, laughed and joked with me, and who would tell me straight what I NEEDED to hear. When I needed them, they were there. And because I have moved so many times, many of these friends I no longer see. But they are a part of what makes me who I am. And I am grateful to them all for that.
Yesterday, driving my 25 miles home from my workplace, I put in an audio CD and it hit me. Having listened to tapes and read books over the years in pursuit of understanding people, life, and business, I have developed a second set of friends. These friends have almost all the characteristics of my other friends except one, I have never met them. And like the new cell phone commercial, they fit into several different circles. These new friends cared for me, made me laugh and cry, been there when I needed them, and told me what I needed to hear even when I didn’t want to hear it. So in no particular order, I want to thank the friends whom I know well enough to know their responses to questions and whom I hope to someday meet:
My Encourager Circle: Andy Andrews, Robin Sharma, John Maxwell and Brian Tracy. Andy makes me laugh and cry and always gives me hope that good people with dreams can overcome anything. Robin is maybe the most optimistic lawyer I have ever met. Of course, if I hobnobbed with Nelson Mandela, Bono, and Richard Branson between teaching kids to ski, I would be optimistic too. Funny thing, Robin is intent on helping everyone be a Bono, regardless of station in life, and that inspires me. John is such a good friend he sends me words of encouragement every day. I hope to ask John if he moonlighted at a casino in his youth. How else could he find so many books with titles that include 5, 17, and 21. Best of all, he introduced me to his great friend, John Wooden. Brian He reinforced what Malcolm Maltz told me years ago in a way I could grasp and apply. Of course, my funniest thought is putting Brian and John Maxwell in a room for a week and telling them that only the most productive one gets to leave.
My Practical Circle: Dale Carnegie, Og Mandino, Brian Tracy, and John Wooden. Dale has such a nice way of reminding me to forget the mirror and focus on others. Glad he never gets tired of reminding me. Every time I get some extra money in my pocket, good old Og comes along to remind me to pay myself first. He confounds me with his simple explanation of compounding, and I can never argue with his results. Brian has me writing down everything and avoiding negative anything. Finally, thank you John Maxwell for introducing me to my mentor on success, John Wooden. I never knew anyone so obsessed with process and unconcerned about the score. Funny thing, John teaching me about process has increased my scoring with friends, family, and business without my ever noticing it. John is also the king of zippy one liners.
My Thinker’s Circle: Dan Pink, Shad Helmstetter, Stephen R. Covey, Shigeo Shingo, and Donald Miller. Dan makes me feel dumb and he’s always flipping my thinking with his latest way of explaining why people do what they do. But he’s been a good friend in helping me understand my 22 year old. Shad convinced me that speaking what I want as if I had it, not what I had as if I wanted it was scientifically valid. Stephen’s Begin with the End in Mind has truly helped me assist some people out of their hopeless funk. His explanation of his time matrix finally put the 80/20 Pareto principle into focus. He is also very caring in the way he talks to me. Dr. Shigi, as I now call him, reinforced that even a little effort every day can make a big difference. He drives me crazy with his constant bantering that the status quo is the enemy of progress, but I know it’s true. I think he’s a distant relative of my wife, so I need to listen to him a little more. Donald and I both lived in Portland at the same time yet I somehow missed my namesake. He makes me laugh telling me a story about telling a story. My weird thoughts about God and living sprang from the same part of the Miller gene pool.
My Best Friend Circle: Last but really first is my friend, Jesus Christ. He meets me every day and is always there talking to me. He has the uncanny knack of calling me just when I need a pick me up or just when I need a knocking down off my high horse. I admitted to him he was right about trusting his judgment over mine and that still is a challenge for me. I just found his suggestions have a much better track record to mine. Not even close. And when we meet I plan on telling him, face to face.
I don’t just get by with a little help from my friends, I get better! 🙂