I was sitting in my therapy session talking about my career success. I was feeling good as I reflected over the last 12 years of my life.I had accomplished in 12 years what could take many 20 or 30.
As I sat on her couch recalling the elation I felt at every victory, smiling from ear to ear, gazing off into the corner of the room as if it were a movie playing called, My Successful Life, she asked me a question that I was not expecting.
“What worries do you have for your future?”
That was a loaded question. My mind quickly scrambled– children transitioning into adulthood, marriage, health, spirituality, finances—you know the regular stuff. As I continued to ponder the question a small twinge in my stomach said, “What about your friends?”
or as long as I can remember my friendships have always been of highest importance for me. I think it is perhaps the way I soothe myself through some of life’s most difficult moments. It may also be because I have had more positive friendship experiences than bad ones. Whatever the reason, that day, sitting on my therapist’s couch I admitted out loud that I was concerned that my life was rapidly changing and I had no idea how my friends fit or even if they wanted to.
“I have been blessed with these amazing women in my life who have been on this ride with me but as I think about where I know I am going next I don’t know if they will be there, or if they want to be. That scares me.” I explained.
In the last 15 years or so my friendships have become an integral part of my success formula. God has blessed me through these relationships. When I picture my friendships, I am free. I am not mom, wife, leader, boss, coach, blah, blah, blah. I am Kenya. It is a place where I go to laugh, cry, pray, plan, be encouraged and even get talked off the ledge. It is a sanctuary of peace for me.
After I went on and on helping my therapist get acquainted with who were the G.F.F.s and the Sissies as well as the other jewels that God has placed in my life with our own special one on one relationships, she responded. “Sounds like some amazing women who love and support you. What exactly are you worried about?”
“I want to make sure that I continue to nurture those relationships. I want them to know they are important to me. I want to be confident that who I am becoming is being seen and respected. I don’t want to gain all of this success and lose in friendships.” I replied.
I always call my close friendships a blessing from God because I have found these women to be reflections of how I show up in the world. They are also the place where I can go when I am in search of strength, courage, faith, dignity, perseverance, and wisdom in action. Because they are authentically who they are, I am a constant student in their presence. These are some truly dope women!!!
At my therapist’s advice, I created a series of questions that I wanted to know from my tribe and sent it to each of them asking them to respond. NO, they did not all respond and that’s OK.
The value in the exercise for me was to get clear about my concerns so that I could release the unnecessary pressure from myself. The answers that I received helped me to see some of my friends more deeply than I had in a long time. I ended up having phone conversations with a few of them to expand on the questions and answers. It was a valuable exercise.
How has it helped me in my success journey? I am reaffirmed in our friendships for sure.
But the biggest value is that I am not alone as I lean into God’s purpose for my life.
My friends are leaning into His purpose for their lives too. We are learning and thriving together, even though we do not talk every day. Even when it does not feel like we are thriving, we know that we are.
We embrace the roller coaster ride hand in hand or side by side with our hands up, screaming the whole time.
What’s My Advice for You?
Take stock in the value you place on your friendships. If they are of high importance to your success, then make time to check in with each other. Set virtual coffee or wine dates. You will be surprised what you learn about each other even though you know each other so well.
If friendships are not of high importance to you, then this blog is not for you. And that is OK. I appreciate you for tuning in any way.
So, what about MY friends?
I am surrounded by the DOPEST women who accept me for who I am yet challenge me when I am not showing up as my best self. They understand what I call “the art of friendship” because they also know when to let me be. They give space AND they hold space.
Or as Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
I cannot explain why God made me this way, collecting friends at every new journey. I do not question that. I do, however, thank Him that He has not left me on this journey alone.” Kenya Dunn