“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” ― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
I’ve shared much about all that is going on with me regarding my recent move, recent new job, and there is just so much going on. Needless to say, everything is presenting a new season for me as 2016 really started of with an amazing bang and hasn’t really let up yet! Absolutely loving it!
One of the major components of this experience for me is that of distance and time difference. I am definitely the farthest away from family, friends, those dear to me, and even familiar colleagues than I’ve ever been, outside of time away for vacation. I don’t want to say that it takes more work to stay connected to folks, but what I’m realizing is that it does require heightened intention to stay connected to those who I want in my life. At the same time, I’m meeting so many new individuals who are just amazing and fun and are already adding so much to my journey-it’s literally only been three weeks and I’ve been overwhelmingly blessed with the presence of these additional fabulously fierce individuals. One of these people, just this week said, “no pressure but you’re already family…I feel like I’ve known you forever” and another “soooo, where have you been my whole life?” A bit weird in the how in the world have be built such a connection already but amazing in the how amazing that we’ve built such a connection already!!!! See what I did there 🙂
The flip side of all of this is that I’m having to decide who really gets parts of me that those who have always been part of my journey get. You see, things are going exceptionally well and as life would have it, there are many who are re-appearing, or showing up after being gone for so long. Absolutely no harm done, no insult, no hurt but the observation I’ve made of the two sides of the journey for me have had me really thinking about the fact that I have to make the choice. I don’t have to give away any part of me to anyone who isn’t there for me…just as me but instead for the highs of my journey. I actually get to choose who’s part of my squad. It sounds so simple, but let me elaborate just a bit more…I promise it’ll be good 🙂
Ok, so as of late there’ve been many posts about squads, highlights about who true squad friends are like the phenomenal Taraji P. Henson for Viola Davis moment….
reminders of the blessings of squad time with the Mary, Kerry and Taraj apple commercial and a number of other things That being said, it begs attention as an important factor in our lives. So, with all of this, what does, engaging in Squad Selection actually entail? As always, soooo glad you asked 😉
1-Define what it is you want and need from your squad: Again, this sounds so simple but it’s really important to know what you need and don’t need in your life. Be very clear with yourself about what it is you want your squad to bring to the table of your life. And remember, this changes over time…this is why, as one friend once put it, you “graduate” from people, and it’s actually ok. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve gotten better and they haven’t, or that you’ve grown and they haven’t. It just means life changes and circumstances, situations, changed perspectives and the like, lead to divergence, no hard feelings. Just be clear about what you need for you.
2-Articulate what feelings your squad reinforces: Joy. Responsible. Confident. Accountable. This is what I seek to experience with those around me. Let me be clear-this is not to say that they are responsible for how I feel. I didn’t say that you should articulate how they make you feel. You are responsible for how you manage your emotions, but others can either detract or reinforce those emotions. For example, I am a confident individual and I am responsible for building and nurturing my confidence. Those in my squad though, always reinforce this sentiment for me when I need it or in those “just because I love you girl” moments that come up so I don’t lose sight of that. It’s important to be clear about what you want reinforced so that when anything outside of that shows up, you can call someone out on it. For instance, you’ll notice fear is not on my list. Hence, when this grandeur of all the change I was facing recently showed up, not one person in my squad even mentioned the factor of fear. “Honey, you got this! I just know it” (thanks Su)…”I knew it! I knew this is where you would land….it’s just perfect for you”(thanks Jas)…”I’m really proud of you…really” (thanks John)….”No, you’re not crazy, you’re actually really brave” (thanks MC)…”You? Not make friends out there? That’s funny! You’ll be fine! (thanks Judith)……and I could go on and on and on. But see the trend? Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at.
3-Define your role….what it is and what it isn’t. I learned very early in life that you teach people how to treat you. You have to be clear about what expectations they can have of you and what they can’t. I am definitely guilty of overextending in the past and even being a bit too loyal to those whom I call friend. You live, you learn and this being true, the clearer you get about what you choose to let others leverage from you…and again, what they can’t…the better. Boundaries….limits…they’re actually ok! Set them. At the same time, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in your role either. Especially when it comes to your squad, your sisters, you’ve got to be vulnerable and enjoy the benefits of that too!
4-Scout and/or embrace: While I have my right handers in place, my aces, I’m actually in a place where there is room for more in this next level of my adventure with uncharted territory. And so I’m definitely being open to new friends! At the same time, remember that whole intention factor I mentioned in the beginning, I’m totally embracing (virtually) those currently in my squad. Scouting and embracing is my balancing act in this season! Join in. And then….Party like it’s 1999….ok 2020 because, let’s just be honest, at this point it just sounds much cooler….maybe….just a little…alright, ok, just in my head..but not so much…just on paper 🙂 #CarryOn
Soundtrack of the week: Super cheesy but just seems so fitting-Count on Me by Whitney Houston and Cece Winans