As an entrepreneur, I was pulled into the life of work, work, work. It just sucked me in so deep to a point where I started to believe that I wanted things that really didn't fill me inside. The things I was going after were material things, like money, cars, houses, and superficial things. There's nothing wrong with having nice cars and nice things, but it got to the point to where conversations and presentations were mostly all about that.
For a long time, I forgot about what really mattered in my life. The people who were there for me since the beginning. For a long time, I saw them as my enemies because I felt like they were holding me back and putting me down for not supporting what I had decided to do. In presentations, meetings, webinars, we hear speakers talk about how our loved ones are the enemies. That they hold us back and kill our dreams because they're negative about an opportunity that we just joined. They tell us how when we listen to broke people, we buy into their lifestyles. I know, I was one of them. In the beginning, I didn't believe it, but it got to the point where I began to believe it. So I pulled away from the people who loved me because I was taught that I am the 5 people I hang out with. Sometimes, speakers forget to explain a little further, and people, me included take things to heart and don't "read" in between the lines. There may be truth and logic into what "leaders" say, but it's not the whole picture.
We are told that we need to figure out our "Why". And most of us do things because we want a better life for our families. But during our fight and struggle to get to where we want to be, we stop enjoying life with our loved ones. Not only that, but we see them as the enemy because they won't join our opportunity. I saw it all the time with the people around me and it happened to me in the beginning. It got to the point to where my own family didn't answer my calls or I felt like they didn't want to be around me because I was going to pitch them on my opportunity. My "Why" was to make life better for my family, yet, I wasn't enjoying or participating in my family life.
Now, let me make something clear before I go on rambling more on this post. In no way, shape or form am I talking negatively about anyone or any opportunity. I'm talking about my experience and how it changed me and how I learned from it. Hopefully, it can help someone that is in the same situation I was in.
Getting back to my rambling... during my times in network marketing, where I learned so much about business, entrepreneurship, and so many other things I met so many different people. I still communicate with many of them to this date. During those times, I remember one of my mentors saying that a friend was a person who we did things with and followed the same things as us. (He used different words). An example of that is, we have our drinking friends. We hang out when we drink. Or our cycling friends, we hang out when we go cycling. And so on and so on. This makes sense and has a lot of logic to it. But now that I've stopped the chase for the superficial things and I'm more focused on my passions in life, that meaning doesn't fit me anymore.
Now I see things a little differently. The way I see it now that I've changed my priorities in life, a friend to me has some kind of love for the other. Not the "I want to marry you kind of love", but that person truly cares about you and whenever possible he or she will be there for you through thick and thin.
I used to call friends people who hung out with me. But most of them hung out with me because they benefitted from me. That has been the case the majority of my life. I still have those acquaintances who say they're my friends, but as soon as they don't benefit from me, they stop answering my calls. Not all of the people who I hung out with were like that, but I can honestly say that out of 10, maybe 1 or 2 of them truly cared for me and would be there no matter what. Luckily I know tons of people, so I'm blessed to have more than a handful of people who truly care for me. There are still a lot of people in this world who care for humanity. More than we think.
But sometimes we just get pulled into our own little world, that we forget about the good things in life, like cherishing a good friendship. We forget to call them on their birthdays, or on special days. Nowadays, all we do is send a text message or post it on Facebook or twitter. People say that calling up a friend and having a conversation with someone that doesn't involve business or making money is a waste of time. Now I think it's important to be able to call someone and have a conversation.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a special event that a friend invited me to. At this event I was reminded of how important it is to nourish our relationships. I've always known it's important, but as I mentioned above, we get pulled into our little world where we forget and don't make the time.
My friend Howie Palmer invited me to this event. I met him through network marketing. For me, he has been my guardian angel on this planet for about 10 years now. When I was left homeless, he and his beautiful wife Ellen, who is also my good friend, took me into their home and let me stay in one of their empty bedrooms (rent free) for a few months until I was able to get back on my feet. We've had our differences, but not once have they let me down or put me down. For the longest time, they had nothing to gain from me, except for my company and sincerity. Now they still have nothing to gain from me. We do own a couple of businesses together, but our friendships, I believe has only grown to a level where I consider them to be my family. Howie and I can sit and talk for hours, (he does most of the talking), hahaha... but I enjoy the conversations we have. We talk about so many different things in life and unwind from our everyday lives.
We talk about our crazy business ventures, our dreams, our wives, our kids, bikes, basketball, soccer, and topics that just come out of the blue and we laugh a lot. Together, I believe Howie and I were able to keep each other motivated and inspired through the tough times that we've gone through. We went from people who didn't go to church, to now we attend church. We have conversations about God and everything we do, we do it for God, to service and bring value to as many people as we can. It's a beautiful feeling inside knowing that I have people there for me and I thank God for putting people like Howie and Ellen in my path. Life is so much better when you have people who truly care for you and are truly there for you. I have a loving family who one way or another we have managed to stay together and now they answer my calls again, hahaha.
My loving wife, baby, mom, brothers, sister in law, nieces and nephews, my cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends that we've kept in touch and we know that there's love for each other. We all know we're not looking to buy, sell or benefit from each other besides knowing that we care for each other and we'll be there when we need a shoulder to lean on. That is such a great feeling inside and it is priceless.
If there's one thing I learned in my roller coaster life is that a true friend will always be there for you. I learned that deep inside, I know who truly cares for me and who is just there to benefit from me. So I still treat everyone as I would like to be treated, but my true friends, I make sure I nourish that relationship and show them whenever I can that I too care for them.
Who are your true friends? Deep inside, you already know. Remember to call them up and say "hello".