Everyone needs a sounding board. Or two. Or a panel would be good. I have been blessed in my life over the years with really great friends who are always good at listening and giving advice, flat out knocking my ego to the curb if need be, and/or sticking up for me when I’m at my most insecure.
I think what happens to many people is we get lost in our own heads. Like a Goblet of Fire challenge maze closing in on us trying to kill us or at the very least knock down any sense of accomplishment or pride, our own brains can be our worst enemies. And sometimes things that make perfect sense in our heads are just outright wrong. and dumbly goofy.
This is where saying things out loud to another is helpful… no, strike that. Necessary.
Ever have a really great idea and then you go to share it with someone and as you’re talking you begin to realize either that it’s totally impossible and it doesn’t even make sense or that you have a lot of things to make happen for that to happen. Talking out loud is what we do at meetings in the business world. obviously, we have this sense of having to get together and hash out details, sometimes ad nauseum.
But the most productive meetings is when everyone has their information and everyone runs out the door with a to do list. The problem with most meetings is that no one comes prepared and the action items read something like “Go across street to Green Leafe for a burger.”
I really feel for those who don’t feel like they have close friends. For whatever reason they just can’t let down their guard. Maybe an overworked sense of arrogance, like I don’t want people to know that I’m kiiiiinda messed up. Well guess what? we know.
Or maybe it’s that they think no one will care about their problems or what they think about or their insecurities. Well guess what? Most people don’t! Most people can’t see beyond their own noses which makes you cross-eyed right? Most people can’t even begin to stretch their minds outside of their own experience and even if they do listen to you what they reply with is a string of stories that are somewhat (but usually not THAT) related to any little thing you might have said that they can empathize with in any remote way possible.
But there are those who are good at listening and entering into your hurt and shame and fears and insecurities and darkness. There are those who are good at helping you step outside yourself for awhile and breathe new fresh air, seeing all the way around yourself for a change instead of what seems to be looming in front of you.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re hiking and you see a bear. (Which has happened to me and that’s a story for another day if I haven’t told you it already.) The bear is on the path and ready to charge you. Maybe if you’re like me at all, you cannot for the LIFE of you remember if you’re supposed to play dead, run in zigzags, scream and make yourself bigger, climb a tree or what. You just flat out panic and your mind goes blank.
But what if, just to your right, there is a skilled trained park ranger and he’s telling you what to do and if you’re not listening and focusing, you will probably die or get severely messed up. But if you listen, you will certainly come out of the situation a lot less dead.
We all need park rangers in our lives. Preferably hot ones who bring you rocky mountain toast and coffee in the morning. But I digress.
So who are your Go To park rangers? The ones who can help you, guide you, give you advice, but also walk alongside with you? Maybe it’s someone a bit older and wiser who has trod this winding road a hundred times before you. Or maybe it’s someone who has a like mind to yours, who has similar goals or wants to see the same things happen that you do. And by bouncing ideas off each other you make stuff work.
This year, I resolve to be more purposeful and intentional in my relationships, but I also resolve to have close friends, guidance counselors if you will, so that I know there are people keeping me on the path and cheering me on along the way.