The Rembrandt In Your Attic

What if you discovered an original painting by Rembrandt in a dusty corner of your attic? Would you say, “Cool”, and then put it back and go on your way?  Of course not!  You’d gently take out, dust it off, and start treating it like the one-of-a-kind, super-valuable piece of artwork that it is.

Well guess what:  For most of us, we have a super-valuable asset that we aren’t cherishing and appreciating.  I’m talking about our friends.

I’m not just talking about loving them, enjoying time with them, and encouraging them.  I’m talking about leveraging your friendships for more than comraderie, companionship and caring. I know that may sound a little cold and --- for lack of a better word---  utilitarian.  Please be clear that I’m not talking about using people and taking advantage of them. I’m talking about being truly helpful to one another when it comes to our personal growth.

In my 11 years of coaching people to discover God’s love and purpose for their lives, I’ve noticed that my clients’ relationships with their friends – and family for that matter --- is usually limited to fun, companionship, and helping one another in times of crisis.  But rarely do I meet people who intentionally frame their friendships around the idea of “How can we help each other dream and grow and make positive improvements in our lives?”

I witnessed the power of this this past Wednesday when 13 Halftime Institute clients celebrated the first year of their enrollment in our Fellows Program. Each person shared a few thoughts about their experience from their first year. And while they had great things to say about their Halftime Coach, our curriculum, and our adjunct faculty – they noted that highlights of the year were the brainstorming, accountability, and networking they received from the other members of the group.

My hunch is that you are reading this blog because you have read or heard about my book The Joy Model and you’d like to experience more joy, peace, purpose, and balance in your life. While I firmly believe the book can provide self-help in this regard, I also firmly believe you have an untapped resource in your friends.

All you need to do is shift the conversation from the typical topics (family, work, food, weather, sports, vacations, etc.) to “What would you think if we got together on a regular basis to help each other identify the changes we want to see in our lives, brainstorm strategies for making it happen, and then hold each other accountable?”  It’s literally as simple as that.

If you want, you can use the The Joy Model as a guide to help you along. My recommendation for using it is to:

·        Read Chapters 1-4 and discuss the content to frame-up the big picture with each other.

·        Then, read Chapters 5-10 one at a time with a meeting between each chapter.  This will help everyone establish a plan for joy, peace, purpose and balance.

·        Lastly, keep meeting at whatever pace you want to check on progress, brainstorm next steps, and make sure you are moving toward your goals.

There’s no reason to make it more complicated than this. A dash of discipline and pinch of intentionality with your friends make up the secret sauce to lasting life change.

Gather some friends. Get going. Get joy!