Recently, I did a post on the seven people waiting when you fall (The Vulture, Vampire, Voyeur, Freak, Fixer, Father, and Friend). If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here.
One of the seven individuals I discussed was the friend. This is the person who is loyal and genuinely wants you to succeed in life. You know them by how willing they are to celebrate with you when you’re succeeding, not just by how they help you up when you’ve fallen.
This got me thinking. Are there benefits to being a friend like this to others? Absolutely. Here are just a few I came up with:
- The credibility you gain: If you want people to trust you, you have to demonstrate your friendship by helping them succeed when there is nothing immediately in it for you. Notice I used the word “immediately.” I do not think there is anything wrong with acknowledging that we do and should get something from our friendships. In fact, we get lots of things: companionship, mentoring, sharing, emotional support, and a list of other benefits. We need friendships as much as we need life itself. In that sense, no action taken on behalf of a friend is totally selfless. If you are in a relationship that is one-sided (all take and no give) I would not call that a friendship. I might call it slavery, but not friendship. The true friend is not someone who gives and gives and gives and never gets anything in return. Rather, a true friend is one who is willing to set aside his or her needs for a time in order to help you acquire your needs for a time. When you help someone in this way, you gain credibility as a true friend and strengthen a bond that can last a lifetime.
- The future ally you secure: When people know that you genuinely care about their success, their loyalty to you grows. This is important to recognize, because there will come a time when you need their support in order to succeed yourself. If you have been a true friend, you will not have to feel guilty or anxious about asking them to respond in kind. Example: How likely are you to donate money to a person’s cause when they don’t even say hi to you at the office? Not likely, right? But think about that individual who always asks you about your kids, prayed for you when you had surgery, and wrote you a congratulations card when you got a promotion. I bet you’d be more likely to put up five bucks for their charity run. We have to stop being so self-focused, understanding that serving others leads to long term allies. One caution: when you call on an ally to help, the decision is still theirs to make. They might say no and that is okay. If we are simply keeping checks and balances on our investments into people, we will become very bitter. But if we freely “cast our bread upon the water” (as the saying goes), it will return to us in the end.
- The wisdom you acquire: The saying is, “Learn from other people’s mistakes.” I say, “Learn from other people’s successes.” When you participate in the process of another person’s success, you learn a lot vicariously through them. For example, Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company, completed a book several years ago called Platform. It ended up on the New York Times Bestseller list. Prior to publishing the book, he had posted updates on how the book was coming along, asking for feedback, and sharing tidbits of his wisdom. I must admit, as an author, I was just a little bit jealous. “I wish I could ask advice from a network of 100,000+ followers anytime I wanted.” But instead of being bitter, I took the time to follow his progress and learn from him. After all, if he had aquired so many followers, he had to be doing something right. His success, in a small way, has become my success because of the knowledge I gained through his openness about the process. (And, yes, I did buy his book!)
- The new relationships you develop: When people see that you are a trustworthy friend, they will want to be your friend as well. Over time, you will find that you have created a network of friendships that will become a source of joy, encouragement, and help, both in times of trouble and great success.
- The sense of purpose you feel: When you learn to celebrate with others, you discover the true purpose for living life. My new motto on social networking sites is share the positive, the whole positive, and nothing but the positive. Why? Because social networking is not all about me. This is my opportunity to serve others in the virtual world, just like in the real world. There is nothing more exciting than being able to take part in a big or small way in the success of other people. My life is richer because of it. Yours can be too!!
Question: How have you benefited from celebrating the successes of others?