Most leaders have experienced some level of hurt and pain from others.

I sure have.

Some say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I understand the theology, but the practice is another story. 

And the Bible has a different perspective of who are your enemies and how to define friends.  

The wounds of a friend make us better. The kisses from an enemy are fake and the intention is to deceive you.

Bring on the true friends, please.

I recently asked a few friends to speak into my life. Our talk was open and transparent. These individuals know me inside and out.

My question was, “if you were me, what would you do with the rest of your life?’ And what would you stop doing?

The conversation was not fun and games; it was uncomfortable at best. Don’t hear the wrong thing. I wouldn’t value just anyone’s opinion. But asking the right person for advice and counsel is priceless.

Listen to advice and accept an instruction to gain wisdom in the future. (Proverbs 19:20, ESV)

They spoke things I never thought I would hear. They were clear, concise, and honest. I knew they had my best interest in mind.  This is the kind of friends everyone needs. I also found myself making excuses. Explaining my decisions is one of my weaknesses, and I am overly sensitive when people question my leadership decisions.

I often validate what people do not understand and over-explain my choices. In this conversation, the best option was to shut up and listen.

Leaders are notorious for talking too much.

And I am no exception. 

The less I spoke, the more I learned

Understand this, my dear brothers, and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19, NLT)

Good friends and good listening make a great life.

Take great risks

It’s easy to play it safe. But, playing it safe is the most significant risk. Finally, I took the chance and asked, “if you were me, what would you do, and what would you stop doing?” Without taking that risk, I would not be writing this post. 

People see our blind spots with more clarity than we do. Some observations are painful, and we must embrace the pain. 

What does not kill you will make you stronger.  The more honest they were, the more lies I received from myself. I was ready to quit everything. But after some deep thought and a good night’s sleep, the truth came to light. 

My friends were doing what I had asked-speak into my life. 

So don’t resist those friendly wounds. They will work for your good!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6, KJV)

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