Yesterday I drove to the north side of the city for a lunch meeting with my “City Half”, Margaret. I am always energized after I meet Margaret for lunch, and I don’t think that’s the Gino’s East deep dish pizza that has become our lunch of choice doing the talking. In fact, the effect that so much fat and carbs in one meal would have on the average person technically means that I should be feeling extremely sluggish and lazy after indulging, so the fact that I feel ready to set the world on fire really speaks to the power of our not-often-enough ninety-minute meet-ups.
I call our lunches “Meetings of the Minds” because although we are definitely good friends and talk casually about lots of things, we spend very little time on personal chatter. Instead, we bounce ideas off of each other, and do lots of high-fiving. Not literally. Well, maybe sometimes.
I get to hear about the new tours that she’s developing for her business (That girl has fabulous ideas!) and her various writing projects (like her recent and totally brilliant post about this particular Chicago winter that made Crain’s Chicago Business, Holla!), and she gets to hear about, well, all of my stuff. Sometimes I suggest an idea or an angle that she hadn’t considered before, and vice versa. Sometimes I think that if Margaret and I were able to meet weekly we would literally set the world on fire.
I am a very lucky person because I have Margaret AND an entire village of friends with whom, like Margaret, I feel safe in exchanging ideas, sharing feedback, and trying to inspire while being inspired myself. I have lots of go-to friends for certain categories (blogging, other writing, fitness, home projects, etc.), and then of course I have a teeny, tiny inner circle that I can call on for any and everything under the sun.
So often I hear about people who are worried about sharing their professional experiences and ideas because they think that they will lose opportunities in the process, but there are plenty to go around. I don’t believe it’s “every man (or woman) for himself (herself)” and I know that the goals I have met in my life weren’t achieved without help along the way. I appreciate it so much when someone takes the time to listen, truly hear me, and point me in the right direction when I need assistance and that’s why it’s my pleasure to do the same for others. This is one of the reasons I love my new job as National New Cities Mentor for LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. Not only do I enjoy sharing my experiences with the eleven new teams across the country as they plan their own paths (and making new friends, always!), but I love the idea of paying it forward.
One of my favorite quotes ever is one that was used often (but not written) by John F. Kennedy and originally had more to do with the United States economy than anything else but it works as a part of my life philosophy in general:
A rising tide lifts all boats.
That’s why I make sure to keep company with people who lift up rather than push down, and I try to be the loudest one in the room (it’s not hard for me: have you spent time with me in person?) when celebrating my friends’ successes. You should, too. Life is way more fun that way.
I’m feeling like this post turned out to be a little more preachy sounding than I intended; apologies. It sounded way better in my head. I guess what I’m trying to say is that today, like every day, I’m thankful to be surrounded by such a wonderful village of smart, sassy, caring friends, and I hope they know that.
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You are a great friend, cheerleader, and resource, Melisa. I’m so happy to know you!
I love this post and I am sure you give that same love and support right back to your friends, one hundred and eleventy times over, because I am lucky enough to be one of them.
As the famous Margaret in the article, thank you very much, I am in total agreement of course! That’s funny, there isn’t much chitter-chatter, although we definitely keep the ball bouncing! I’ve gotten so much from you, so so much. I save up questions, of how to handle things or people or thoughts. So thank you very much in return and I agree, living in abundance, there’s so much for all of us!!! YAY FRIENDS.
You have a good take on this. Totally reminds me of Ruthie Foster’s wise words:
“You wanna make real music,
Not just part time, but really use it.
But you don’t want nobody else to hear it.
‘Cause you think somebody’s gonna steal it.
You better think ’bout healin’ yourself, child –