The Value of Foxholes
Think about a time you have experienced great success or joy in your life and look around. Take note of the people that were there to celebrate with you and rejoice in your success.
Next, think about a time you were really struggling or going through a really hard time in your life and look around. Take note of the people that were there to console you and share in your struggle.
Finally, think back to a time you were getting off track from the person you want to be. You were making decisions and taking actions that did not align with your values and character. Take note of the people that called it to your attention and the people that ignored it or just faded away from a relationship all together.
There is certainly overlap in these three groups, but they are not all the same people.
The group that celebrates our success is always the largest group, we’ll call them acquaintances. They know us and we know them. People love to be around, and associated with, success. There’s nothing wrong with that. We can learn a lot from watching how people attaining excellence think, speak, and act. However, the people only in this group are nothing more than fanboys. Be wary.
The group that mourns with you will always be a subgroup of the people that celebrate with you. These people are your friends. They go out of their way to help, encourage, and support you in whatever is happening in your life. Our friends provide substance and fabric to our lives. Though we have a deep appreciation for and from these people, we need to remember they are friends and not all of them are members of the third group.
The final subgroup is your foxhole. This group is small. The willingness to tell you the truth, especially when you do not want to hear it, is a separating factor among friends. It is the defining factor for those in your foxhole. They’ll always be there to celebrate with you. They’ll always be there to support you when you need it. But, more importantly they’ll always tell you what you need to hear over what you want to hear.
Why Should We Care?
Honesty is a difficult characteristic to come by, especially when it isn’t wanted. Finding people that are willing to give it to us that we can trust is of paramount importance if we have any interest in becoming the best version of ourselves. It’s a mission no amount of personal reflection, willpower, and awareness can support.
We need others.
And, our foxhole people are the best ‘others’.
Our foxhole people make major contributions to our lives in a number of ways. Whether we realize it or not, they often significantly influence numerous choices that directly impact the trajectory of our lives. These people, more than anyone else, need our attention. That is, if we’re willing to give it.
Our foxhole will drive our initiative to act.
Nothing works unless we do. Your foxhole knows this. They model it and they value it. We need to do nothing more than observe the people in our foxhole. They are undoubtedly doers. They may be thoughtful and creative. They may propose ideas and suggest numerous solutions, but one thing is for sure: when it’s time to act, they’re at the front of the line. Oh yea, and when we are hesitating to act, they’ll call us on it.
Our foxhole will push our willingness to struggle.
Adversity makes us stronger. We know it but we still avoid it. We run from it rather than run to it. Our foxhole holds a perspective that allows them to see the value in the struggle along with the courage to push us towards it. They speak confidence into us, reaffirming that we will be better because of it. They soften the fall when we fail, reminding us that simply choosing to embrace the struggle is often the first step to progress. And, if we think about taking the easy road, they’ll call us on it.
Our foxhole will grow our resolve to persist.
Consistency fuels excellence. It’s not talent or brilliance. It’s consistency that wins. The willingness to fully embrace the value of delayed gratification is something only foxhole people are able to truly remind you of. The reason is because they’re invested in the relationship forever. It’s a long-term thing. They persist in the relationship. Good or bad, they’re there and they aren’t going anywhere.
They help us act. They help us struggle. They help us persist.
That’s how we grow.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Our foxhole people make major contributions to our lives in a number of ways. Here are a few ways to be sure your foxhole relationships are impacting your life as much as they can.
Our foxhole is our people. Those are the ones we experience this life with. They are critical to your pursuit of excellence, but also to the joy you will experience. Take the time to be intentional and aware of who is in your foxhole and the value you add to each other’s life.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.