A very wise friend recently told me that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. This started me thinking about how our friends and network in general can affect our ability, both positively and negatively, to achieve our goals.
One of the first things I do with a new client is to understand their personal gap analysis – where are they now and where do they want to be. This helps us to solidify their goals which could be very focused and tactical, or more strategic and directional. Once the gap analysis is clear and validated, we move on to goal setting. You will probably be familiar with the concept of SMART goals. Anything we want to achieve needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. If you don’t use the SMART goals concept, I’m sure you use a similar logic.
A key part of establishing a client’s goals is to understand their resources (which could include financial, skills and experience and time) and their support network. To be really successful, I believe it helps to articulate our goals to supportive, positive, honest, like-minded people. We intuitively know who the right people are in our network to help us but of course, this doesn’t stop us from keeping company with negative voices and detractors.
As you try to achieve your goals, think about the people who come into your life for a reason. Consider the example of someone trying to build a personal training business. They may meet a Mum at a school event who becomes a client but then if that Mum is kind enough to introduce the trainer to other people, or who mentions them at a coffee morning, she is a friend for a reason. I have recently been introduced to a fantastic woman who is a Lifestyle Concierge and the idea was that we might be able to help each other with introductions for new business. We are now working together on some marketing experiments and having a lot of fun. Of course, friends for a reason can also become friends for a season or a lifetime.
Friends for a season could be those from university, from your child’s nursery years or that brilliant person you meet at work and look forward to seeing every single day. My wise friend (who is definitely a friend for a lifetime) has recently been very ill and has been bowled over by the number of people that she doesn’t know that well who have stepped in to help. These people, who are mostly nursery Mums and local contacts, have been amazing and she definitely hopes that many of them become friends for ever. In my own experience, my most recent seasonal friend was my tutor for my life coaching qualifications. Our relationship was quite intensive over a relatively short period of time and we very quickly got to a level of complete honesty and constructive criticism. I felt that he understood me very well which enabled me to progress through my course with flying colours.
We do not know that our friends for a lifetime are such for a long period of time. You do not know how long you will remain friends with a school friend or someone else that comes into your life. Not all our friends for a lifetime are the best, strangely, to support our goals. I have a number of friends that I can rely upon to give me their honest opinion but to support me no matter what. I also have some who will not be 100% supportive. Rely on your inner voice to help you make good decisions about who can support you from within your lifetime friends.
Take a moment to think about the people in your life today. Are they friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime? Next time you set a goal, put some energy into actively thinking about who is best placed to help you achieve your best from a practical or emotional perspective.