Jay Woodruff, Robin Johnson, Vicki Sechler, Scott Keller, Sheri Schialla, Mike Pointer, bell hooks, Tina Turner, the cast of Glee and Buffy.
This was my dream team and how I kept the loaded gun out of my mouth and setting myself on fire.
I would like to spend some time discussing how I put my strategic life altering team together and how you can reach me to offer you assistance in doing this for yourself.
It is important to dig a bit deeper and arm ourselves with those who love us and encourage us to get on with it.
I built my dream team in two very different ways :The first way, by default, the second way was deliberate and methodical.
I figured out through much personal drama that it is important to get and stay deliberate and selective. In other words, I had no history or understanding of what it took to move forward and the community required to make this happen.
When I began to successfully put together my team, it was out of sheer will and the desire for something wonderful to occur.
Broke, facing abject poverty and living on take out and in cheap temporary transient housing truly puts things in perspective. I knew I would have to change my thinking and surround myself with people who possessed incredible mental prowess.
In addition to reminding me of my brilliance and abilities and “Strong Stuff” , I needed people who would not allow me to give up on myself.
In rc circles, it is referred to as borrowing someone else’s thinking.
I had to do this until I could recall all of my personal successes.
“When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remember your main objective was to drain the swamp. ”
How did I figure out that the only possible solution to attaining my goals and keeping sane was the strengthening of interpersonal relationships ?
This bit of brilliance resurfaced when I reminisced about the times I had been in intimate relationships and started planning on how and when to leave them.
So much of moving forward is about having a look back for lessons and things that made sense not justifications of why something was a disaster and a reason to not try again.
My friends would literally rattle off my accomplishments.
When things get tight, you better have someone you can engage with in a meaningful way.
The time to start building that army for your victory is now.
When you are struggling trying to remember your greatness and your skills, it is imperative to have things in place that force you to recommit to your greatness.
The thing that you have in place is friendships.
Often times, I would isolate.
Fortunately, I had put together a collection of warriors who would bring me my battle gear, show some love and gently remind me that the break was over.
My best friend, V, encouraged me to leave the safety and familiarity of Detroit for the bright lights of Japan and then NYC.
In creating my team, I used our 20+ years of friendship as a model.
I asked myself in whose presence do I feel confident, secure, decisive and powerful.
I then asked whose presence makes me feel as though nothing would be better than a nap, do it later, what is the big deal ?
After this reflection, I doled out congratulations or a pink slip.
People who have committed whole heartedly to one thing typically have no problem committing and or going all out for another: be it a friendship, a friend in crisis or a cause they believe in.
When I was designing my squad, I took a long hard look at the lives of the people that I wanted as battle mates.
A very good friend had 13+ years of sobriety and a loving 10+ year relationship.
I closely watched his interaction with his partner and listened to his lifelong commitment to staying sober.
Another friend had spent 10 years in one career and ten in another and was wealthy. This person knew how to plan and prepare daily for a future and where she wanted to end up.
Here is an odd tidbit: Even an ex can lend support.
My ex pointed out my excellent qualities while keeping it zipped regarding my shortcomings.
What sustains you?
Is it an incredible conversation you had with your good friend over coffee?
Is it the uplifting note that you keep posted to your bathroom mirror reminding you of how to treat yourself in tough times, that nothing last forever and believe in change?
As the great Suze Orman would say “People first”- this is a wonderful mantra to remember during extended bouts of abject poverty and impending homelessness.
It is not a time to isolate and think you will figure it out on your own.
You will only come up with more of the same.
You need your team to laugh at the absurd , cry at the unrelenting, plan for the inevitable and congratulate you when any measure of success happens.