Fast Friends

This week I’m feeling very grateful for the friends God has put in my life. I’ve always been blessed to have really great people around me, but right now I’m especially thankful for the people I’ve met in the past 6 months who have been generous with their time, experience, and knowledge as I build a fledgling business.

On Monday I got to have lunch with my “friendtor” (think friend-mentor hybrid). [Aside: friendtor is a term that author Jenny Blake coined to describe those mutually beneficial relationships where you’re able to share life experience and advice with each other, as well as maintain a relational closeness and informality. I’m also super thankful for Jenny Blake, whom I hope to meet someday! She wrote the book Pivot: The Only Move that Matters Is Your Next One, and it literally changed my life. It is the text responsible for sending me on a new pathway that is allowing me to live more fully than ever before.] But back to my friendtor.

This guy is amazing. He embodies exactly who I want to be in 8 years (that’s approximately how much older he is). He is a loving and supportive husband, patient father of 3, a musician, (multiple) business owner, and an all around great guy. On the vain side, we happen to dress very similarly, so I really like his style. Our friendship began when he said yes after I asked if I could buy him coffee and pick his brain on my business idea. He sat with me for way longer than I intended, listened intently, studiously took notes, and flooded my brain with new terms and ideas that opened up my perspective. I was really surprised at how much he genuinely cared about what I was talking about, and he wanted to help me in any way possible.

I am fortunate to have begun an ongoing friendship with him, and we have been able to pray for each other and encourage each other through the ups and downs of life, running a business, and being the husbands and fathers we want to be. Once again, our lunch on Monday took so much longer than I meant, but he really took the time to connect with me in a meaningful way. We are so starved for this kind of attention in our culture, and I’m so thankful to have friends like this in my life.

Another recently-forged friendship is a friend of my friendtor. We got together for our inaugural coffee, and a bond was quickly formed. I found out about 10 days later that he was moving to Ohio with his family in about 10 days. So we allowed the time constraint draw us closer at a typically-socially-awkwardly accelerated pace. He has been such a support even after moving halfway across the country. The authors and teachers that he recommended to me have been instrumental in my journey of becoming an effective business owner. Through those resources and his really concrete advice, I have been able to transition from wishful, “head in the clouds” thinking to tactical, practical thinking. All stemming from our initial conversation, I can directly link a great leap in my business skills, understanding the importance of email marketing, and having the courage to outline and begin the creation of my course.

Just today, I had the pleasure of working with another friend to complete filming the promo for the course. Yet another contact made through church, this guy generously donated his time and skills to work with me. I’m so new to the video world, and he has been at it for quite a while. It was fun to see all of his gear and expertise. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to get there. He really took my baby ideas and grew them into grownups. I’ve been so blessed by his friendship as well. We had him and his family over for dinner recently, and he was such a source of profound encouragement to me. He really helped me see the wealth of resources and skills I have. I was on the cusp of giving up on this venture, and after talking with him, I had a renewed sense of the original vision. I knew I just needed to dive in deeper and leave fear behind.

God uses people in our lives in such a wonderful and mysterious way. It’s quite clear to me how those guys have been a huge source of encouragement and strength in my life, but the crazy thing is that I have been able to do the same for them. I can only hope that I inspire them 1/10 as much as they have inspired me. As I seek to be a source of courage for people, it’s great to have folks in my life who do that for me.

Mark BjerkeComment