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Friday, May 02, 2014

Coaches, Cheerleaders and Accomplices

I heard something interesting on the radio the other day.  It was an ad that I only half listened to until something suddenly caught my attention.  The speaker was promoting a book about the kind of people we have in our lives.  It's premise was that we surround ourselves primarily with three kinds:  Coaches, Cheerleaders, and Accomplices.

Coaches, the announcer said, help instruct us or model positive behaviors or skills.  These are, I imagine, our parents, teachers, bosses, mentors, and older friends, etc.

Cheerleaders are the people in our lives who encourage us and draw out the very best we have to offer.  They walk with us through triumph and trials, providing shoulders, cups of tea, or half-time pep talks, never letting us settle for second best.

Accomplices, however, are those who share our points of weakness and work hard to keep our focus on areas of struggle and non-productivity.  'Drinking buddies,' toxic friends, and co-dependent relatives fit this bill.

My first reaction was that 'three' seemed a small number of categories.  Surely there had to be a lot more than that. . .but then I started going through all the closest people in my life.  My husband?  HUGE cheerleader and coach, too!  S & A?  Cheerleaders!  Aunt J?  Great coach, who cheerleads, too.  B & J & S & J & J & JP & T & P & J???  Cheerleaders, one and all!! (and yes, I have a huge number of friends whose names begin with "J!!")

I went through all of my closest friends and relatives, then out and out through all the layers until I hit the very outer rim of people who are regularly in my life:  business associates, friends of friends, distant relatives, etc.

It was here that I finally found my first Accomplices:  the old college friend who only seems to want to gossip about other old friends, the business associate who tries to lure me away from pressing work, the relative who tries to stir up feelings against other family members.

Since most of my 'Coaches' are 'Cheerleaders,' too, and most of my 'Cheerleaders' 'Coach' me as well, I thought there must be some overlap with Accomplices.  But there wasn't.  Not even a little bit.

Isn't that strange?

All Accomplices do is attempt to keep me mired in my weaknesses or trapped under a pile of toxic negative emotions.  They don't want me to grow or flourish or succeed in any way.  They want a pity partner, or someone with whom they can gossip, or play hooky with, etc. . . .none of which helps me to be more and more of who I was meant to be.

The radio announcer said we need to minimize the Accomplices and maximize the Coaches and Cheerleaders in our lives.  Within a mere thirty second ad, I determined that he was right!

(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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