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Life: Not a Solo Act

You know you’re traveling too much when…

Early in my career, I worked as an executive search consultant. A large part of my job was traveling across the country to conduct interviews of candidates for companies like Kodak, Johnson & Johnson, Saft Battery, and others. Sometimes, I’d do three cities a day for 5 days straight. I literally would forget where I was and what time it was due to jet lag and time zone changes.

One morning, I remember waking up in a hotel room and having absolutely no idea where I was. I had been traveling for days at that point. I used to stay at Marriott Courtyard Hotels since they were all laid out the same and it felt like home. The problem with that is they all look the same so seeing the room didn’t give me a clue of where I was.

I called my office and my secretary Carol answered the phone. “Carol, where am I, what time is it, and what am I supposed to be doing.” Without missing a beat, Carol said, “You’re in Chicago, it’s 7:00 AM, you have an interview at that hotel in an hour. Get out of bed!"

Now while it's true that I would have eventually figured-out where I was and what I was supposed to be doing, it was great to have that familiar voice bringing me back to reality. It's often when you're alone and away from home that you realize that you truly DO need others.

We live an a solo culture. Rugged individualism, we're told, is what made our nation great. To some degree, I agree. We need to take personal responsibility and take individual action to grow and achieve things in life. Still, we function best in, and truly need, community. Like it or not, you need me...and I need you!

This past weekend, my wife and I did a small wedding. We were moved by the intimacy of this group of about a dozen friends and close family members that met us at a restaurant, surrounded the new couple with love, supported them in their exchange of vows, and simply loved them both. At one point in the ceremony, I was moved to do something I don't always do, I looked at the big round table where all were seated and said to the couple, "Please know that you are not alone in this journey called marriage. We're all with you and we will hold up your arms. Right all?" Quickly, they all responded with a resounding, "Yes!" It was a special moment.

John Maxwell likes to teach those of us on the Maxwell Team that we will be known by the makeup of our inner circle. Those closest to you will have the biggest impact on your life. Still, that assumes you HAVE an inner circle. I believe this is a choice. I believe its an intentional decision to pull people close who you WANT to impact your life in a positive way.

So, my encouragement today is to do just that. Make a list of 10-12 people you'd like to be closest to you and thus be able to be that encouraging voice on the phone if and when you lose your way and temporarily forget where you are or what you're supposed to be doing.


Pastor Joel

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