Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 December 2018

Choose Wisely

In a rare brush with fame earlier this month, I met Rick Warren. He was a keynote speaker for an excellent conference at Saddleback Church in Southern California

Later in the week he was part of a panel on fear and faith. In the middle of telling a heart-wrenching story of devastation in his own life, he paused to teach the audience of 500. He cannot stop teaching no matter how many tears are flowing. What follows is his one-minute lesson.

He said that everyone needs four types of people in their lives: mentors, models, partners, and friends.

  1. You need several mentors. Like today’s modern sports teams that have different coaches that know different things really well, you need six or seven coaches. Don’t be satisfied with just one mentor.
  2. You need role models, preferably dead ones. It sometimes takes years after the obituary to determine if your heroine’s life was as worthy as advertised. It’s far more convincing to emulate a life that has had no moral failures – and much easier to explain when asked the inevitable “why?”
  3. You need partners of faith who work with you. People with both a work ethic and fruit of the spirit to make your job more than a job.
  4. Finally, you need a small group (that you don’t lead) of friends who won’t ever walk out on you and who will always walk with you when times are tough.

The devastation Rick shared was the suicide of his son. He took us through the long minutes while he and his wife waited for help to arrive. Shortly after the first responders were there, close friends started showing up.

There was nothing for their friends to say. They just held the Warrens. “The deeper the pain, the fewer words needed” – another teachable moment for Rick. The friends stayed literally by their side for weeks.

Later in the conference week or maybe the month – it’s been a long month – I heard someone say that each of us grows to be like the five people with whom we spend the most time.

Aside from your dependents, who are the five people you hang out with the most? Are you like them? Is that a good thing? 

Mentors, models, partners, and friends.

Choose wisely.


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