In the middle of one of the greatest stories I have ever heard from my southern Arkansas family, Quinna announced that “he’s my people”, didn’t miss a beat and further explained the good, the bad and the ugly of one of her relationships. That phrase has stuck with me. “He’s my people”.
So I have started to research who would be in the “my people” bucket. That’s easy to determine. Just look around. I have around me, several great friends,
I’m reminded of a time when my children were very young. My oldest was playing 6th grade pee wee basketball. I question myself why anyone would be a coach or referee in one of these games. The audience/crowd are ruthless people at times. The mild manner bank teller can turn into a foul mouthed maniac. It’s always interesting to watch your neighbors, your friends, your kid’s school teach, and even your kid’s Sunday school teacher mutate during a pee wee sport. At least I am not that way….
Or am I???? Remember, judging others is the quickest way to finding humility.
One Saturday I was enjoying watching the boys’ game. I sat with “my people”, as I did every Saturday. I mean every Saturday. Goodness the number of events I attended with two boys in sports. My life truly went on hold while supporting their NBA dreams. Sadly neither boy grew tall enough to compete with Lebron so pee wee through high school was the hayday for the Pierson clan.
But I digress. This Saturday morning I sat with, let’s call her Becky (because that’s her name). The game was a nail biter for sure, 20-18. What I failed to consider when I made my seating choice was, what would happen to my reputation based on “my people” of choice. As the game took a turn for the worse, Becky started yelling at the referee. The referee shot several looks our way. Looks that could kill. He was not happy. I can tell you his threshold for being yelled at, three times. And on the third shout, he took action. Yep action. He stopped the game, blew his whistle and ejected me from the game. I was stunned. I sat there in disbelief. He thought the obscene sounds were coming from me. He motioned a second time for me to leave. Yes, friends, I got ejected from a 6th grade pee wee game. I had to pick my stuff up, leave the bleachers, looking back at all my friends and people I attend church with, make that walk of shame from bleacher to concession stand and out the door.
So the moral to the story, select “your people” well. There should be a bit of a criteria for “your people”:
They lift you up. In tough times are these the folks who can show you empathy and give you the courage and consideration to make it through the day.
They toughen you up. Sometimes, with tact and care, “your people” need to help you see your flaws in a way you can bend and improve.
They don’t live a life that discredits them and eventually you. Your mother likely told you to run with the right crowd. I’m fairly certain she was not making a choice based on economic status. No. She is giving you great advice to hang with those people who keep you on the straight and narrow. Keep in mind, at times you are guilty by association.
I had a client once who worked for a company that had some leadership challenges with integrity. There was a clear divide in that company. However, this client tried to be tactful and work with both sides of said divide. Sadly, people quickly started to distrust him. He hadn’t really done anything wrong, he simply did not challenge the folks who were suspect. His brand weakened. Again, be careful who you support. Good intentions are really only known by one person….. Your behavior is what defines you.
They share your passion. “Your people” need to understand your passion and feed your energy to accomplish those things in life that are important to you. A disruption in vision and values will simply cause you confusion and angst.