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Letting people go. Cutting ties. Moving on. Abandoning them. Oh… it all sounds so horrible, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s really not. It’s more like ‘blasting off’ and making sure you don’t force a car off the road while you do it.
It is taking an honest, authentic stand about what you intend for your life, and calling others to join you. If you want to focus on helping your city, call all your old friends to succeed with the new you. You know it’s an important stand to take, and you can have faith that they’ll see it, and come along. Hopefully they do, but every person has free will.
I made a choice to stop supporting people who don’t focus on success and solutions.
I made a choice not to use my strengths to support other people’s weaknesses, instead telling them that I have complete faith in them, that I expect the best from them, and that I’m psyched to collaborate with them and grow together if they’re interested, but it has to be mutually beneficial.
The way friends come and go, is NOT by your doing something to them. It’s by taking a stand and making a powerful choice about who you want to be, and then watching them either flow closer to you, or flow further from you. It’s almost like magic, it feels like it sometimes.
I made a choice to be success. I made a choice to focus on that. I made a choice to see myself as successful, and needing no one for help, and I made a choice to see others as successful, and them not needing me.
When I made this powerful choice, it had some interesting effects:
Some people chose to ‘leave’ and separate from me. Some with a whimper, some with a bang. Some dispassionately choosing to spend their time, hanging out with other cars. It felt like betrayal at the time. I’ll share some of the thoughts and feelings going through my mind, something like: "After all we’ve been through, my choice to focus on success and solutions makes you leave like a chump? This is bullshit!"
Others attempted to embrace the new me half-heartedly, and wished for the ‘old gentle Jason’ back, as if I’m some human being who can and will never take a stand about what I’ll accept in my life, and must always be super-delicate with every relationship. Kneejerk reaction: "Yeah, that’s right, *I’m* the one who always needs to be gentle with YOU. I’ve allowed you to abuse my generosity and gentleness for way too long, and it’s killing both our success. Join me in not doing that anymore." If your friends don`t like the ‘new you’, there is a high probability they are not ready to grow the way you are. It’s okay. Handle it as peacefully as you can manage.
A select few were able to really connect with my new attitude. "I no longer shore up another’s weakness with my strength, because I know they’re as strong as I am, and I stand for what I believe in, calling you guys to join in, cool?" – Having someone who gets this and wants to evolve, work it out, and come to understandings? Brilliant.
Better than that, when I chose not to hang around the first 2 groups while they cry and tantrum and gossip about the new me, life presented me with a ton of new connections. Celebrities, success-makers, CEOs. Models, rappers, artists, performers. Wine, women, song. All that good stuff flowed in.
Upsides: Now I know clearly who’s a match for me. It feels very, very good to instantly know who’s a match. It was quick, easy, and every moment of my day is filled with a deep, visceral success.
Downsides: Life removed some others who I believed in strongly, who I loved having around, and who I see a longer time together with. Sniff
So what you end up with is, people who get you and who are success-oriented as you are. Nearly Every famous success story has people they`ve had to let go. It may mean for a short time you have some gaps in your friends list, but you’ll get more, really you will. They’re swirling all around you and you keep missing them because you’re stuck in ‘starving artist mode’ or ‘status-quo mode’. It may mean you let some people go that you’d really wished would stick around and rock life with you.
Believe that those people are meant to leave, at least for now. Believe they are off succeeding and growing and learning how to take a stand with their own families and friends.
We live in a society where it’s almost taboo to draw a line in the sand that says: "This is who I am. These are qualities I focus on. I’m not interested in spending 90% of my time with people who don’t get me, and don’t get these qualities."
They might join you down the road, but do you really want years of misery and slow-progress until they do?
Making choices about yourself and not being swayed socially, is what really helps. Spend your time with people who get you. Spend your time with people who are focused on success and solutions. Spend your time around people who suit you, and if that requires taking a stand and making some changes, do it. Only good will come from it.
"The only way unhappy people can stay in your life, is when you focus on their unhappiness." – Esther Hicks.
I understood this quote, and so I chose to focus only on my friends’ happiness, listening for happy news, and speaking happy things from the heart. Annnnnnddddd they disappeared from my life — at least for a time.
A very public example of this is, Beyonce Knowles. Beyonce was managed by her Dad, Matthew Knowles, for a long time. I imagine this is a pretty tight bond, father and daughter.
Beyonce eventually left her father’s management company, with this statement:
“I am grateful for everything he has taught me, I grew up watching both he and my mother manage and own their own businesses. They were hardworking entrepreneurs and I will continue to follow in their footsteps.”
“There are things I wanna say in my art but that meant I had to make a very tough decision…I’ve been managed by my father for a very long time, and a real change meant separating from him. It was scary, but it empowered me, and I wasn’t gonna let fear stop me.”
What would you do if you were managed by your Dad for years, everything smooth, and then one of you grew in a certain way, and one of you didn’t. Beyonce went on to greater and greater success with Jay-Z`s company, Roc Nation. I didn’t find out much about what happened to her father. Regardless, the long and short is that people want to grow together, they really do, but trying to force it will hurt everyone involved.
So you’re off for an amazing life, you’d love your people to come along, side-by-side. They seem determined to stay living as ‘cars’, moving side-to-side across the road, never elevating much.
I try to teach niggas how to be kings, when all they ever wanted to be was soldiers." – Jay-Z, Why I Love You
It looks like you’re going to have to do the scary thing of choosing between your dreams, and your friends. Is this it? Is this the fate of anyone who wants to succeed but keep their old friends?
No. There’s hope. The "at least for a time" part is important, because this isn’t about some make-or-break, be-all-end-all, omg-relationship-over-forever thing, though your friends may take it that way. It’s about "this is how I choose to be, accept it and roll with me, or we’ll separate for a bit."
On top of that, because human beings are not cars, planes, and rockets like I’ve been suggesting through this whole series. People are not stuck in one form, and the beautiful thing of it, is that people can trasnform in an instant, if they want.
You have to take a stand though. You have to declare who you are and what you stand for and explain that if they want to embrace something else, "they gots to go."
You friends won’t change unless you do your part. Lead the way. Take a stand first – and believe in them, and then expect the to transform and fly with you. And then you step back and trust them. Which I have always done, and continue to do. My biggest mistake is doing it for too long, years of deep belief and expecting them to change on their own, in front of my eyes.
Johnny B. Truant leads us once more:
"I know it feels phony. I know many of you reading this are resisting the notion, thinking that you’ll be a stand-up person by staying in your current peer group and simply rising above their expectations. I also know that many of you are bursting with counter-examples — stories of people who came out of the ghetto and made it big.
So to address some of that, let me borrow from Tony Robbins.
Love your family and friends. But choose your peer group."
So, let’s say you really, really, really don’t want to separate from someone, even for a short time, is there anyway to encourage this growth and transformation in your friends?
We’ll touch on that in Part 5.
Note: This is Part 4 in a series on Consciously Choosing Relationships. Check out the rest below:
1. Rocketships Or Cars? – The Art Of Friends
2. The Status Quo – Friends By Default
3. Use Your Power – Choosing Your Friends
4. How To Lift Off – You’re reading it
5. Transforming Destructive Relationships – It`s Improv
6. Start And End With Win-Win