Recently I read, “A person becomes the average of the five people closest to him.”
The statement caused me to stop and take inventory with regard to friendships and relationships in my life. Perhaps you should do the same? Studies show that we spend like our friends spend, talk like our friends talk, live like our friends live, kids play on the same team … the list goes on and on.
I know for me personally, the books I read, the environments I frequent, where I eat, the words I communicate are all affected by those closest to me.
Last year I went bowling with my son. Wow what a great experience that was! However when you stop and think about it, the value of friendship is a lot like bowling. Have you been bowling recently? If so, perhaps you noticed that some people choose the option of bowling with bumper rails in their gutters, usually the smaller children.
The bumpers are designed to keep the ball on track and make the game more enjoyable for the little ones. Occasionally, adults who are bad bowlers will even volunteer to bowl with the kids just so they too can be protected by the bumpers.
Don’t you wish they offered bumpers on the other areas of your life? Actually, they do. They’re called friends, and they determine the direction of your life. If you are surrounded by friends who value character and integrity, you are much more likely to stay on track yourself. If you isolate yourself and go it alone, chances are you will soon find yourself continually in the gutter.
As a leader, you may be tempted to think, “It’s lonely at the top.” But let me remind you that loneliness is a choice. I’ve heard it said before: “If you want to have a friend, you must be a friend.” I would take it a step further by saying, choose friends who value character and integrity. Because remember, stupidity is a choice too.
You weren’t designed to lead alone or go it alone through life. Find yourself some friends to be your “bumpers” who will keep you on track. Your integrity and influence are on the line!