By Tope Popoola
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
There are only two types of relationship in the real sense of the word. A relationship is either empowering you or disempowering you. There is no middle of the road. Consequently, not everyone that flows into your life qualifies for equal levels of attention. Some people only deserve a few minutes or even a few seconds. Assess the quality of relationships in your life right now in relation to the direction in which you are headed in life. How relevant are they? Use your answer to determine how much time you need to allocate to each relationship. Everyone wants to associate with success. As the cliché goes, success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. No man can succeed beyond the best relationships in his life.
TIME is your most valuable capital. It is also a non-replaceable asset. Spending a substantial chunk of it on people who are not in any way related to your life pursuit will cost you energy and bring emotional deficits. Some relationships are real energy drainers. Deliberately avoid such toxic intrusions into your life and destiny.
On the other hand, deliberately cultivate the company of people whose presence literally puts you on mental steroids. When in their company, your dreams come alive again and you leave with the feeling that in God, anything is possible. People in this category are not easy to come by in a world where negativity is the norm. They may be mentors or contemporaries but once you identify them, pay the price to service the relationship. Conversely, when even your mentors are no longer speaking the language of your destination, it is a sign that you probably need a change of alliances and input into your life.
Do everything you can to avoid the company of those who only speak the language of your frustration and deliberately court the company of those who speak the language of your destination. Whatever or whoever gives you instruction will also by implication, give you direction.
Allocate quality time to the most important relationships in your life. Never pursue success at the expense of your family life, especially your nuclear family. When everyone else leaves – as they sometimes do, they will be the ones left. Plan for time to be with your spouse and children. They must be seen and treated as stakeholders in your pursuit of purpose. If your immediate family is alien to your success, you are signing on for a miserable existence.
After many years of what seemed to have been a highly successful ministry with a broadcasting station, a hotel, schools and daily TV appearances, an erstwhile popular American televangelist Jim Baker found himself behind bars as a result of an act of indiscretion. After his release, he admitted, while addressing a Pastors’ meeting that it took his going to jail before he could spend one full day with his son!
Maintaining quality relationships and avoiding toxic ones like a plague requires deliberate skill. A whole chapter is dedicated to the subject of relationships in my book LIVING INTENTIONALLY. You should get a copy and read it well. The people-factor is an integral part of your success story. Mike Murdock once said that if God wants to bless you, He sends people. Conversely, when the devil wants to frustrate you, he sends people! You must be discerning enough to know whose purpose any relationship serves in your life, God’s or Satan’s.
Here is a guide to benchmark your current relationships against so you can be empowered to know what to do with the relationships you are involved in now.
Never spend quality time in a relationship where you do all the giving.
It wears you out.
Never spend quality time in a relationship where you do all the taking.
It devalues you.
Never spend quality time in a relationship that has no boundaries.
It compromises you.
Never spend quality time in a relationship that does not respect your values.
It frustrates you.
Never spend quality time in a relationship that is characterized by criticism and cynicism.
It corrodes you.
Never spend quality time in a relationship that has no value for time.
It kills the achiever in you.
Never spend time in a relationship that does not value grace in other people.
It dulls your insight.
Never spend time in a relationship that places charisma over character.
It grieves you.
Never spend quality time in a relationship that places pleasure above PURPOSE.
It derails you.
Never spend quality time in a relationship that is not characterized by the fear of God.
It will destroy you.
Take an inventory of the FIVE best relationships in your life outside your immediate family. Find out the income profile and social status of each. Average it out. You will find out that you operate and earn at the level of whatever you get as the average. Think about that!