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home : opinion : columnist August 17, 2017

8/11/2017 12:56:00 PM
Different People, Over Time

Marty Reep, Author
Speaker, Forward-Thinker

People who started out with you years ago are not always the same people who will finish with you.  This can be true for businesses, friendships, families, organizations, or leadership teams.

Years ago, I thought that I would always stay in touch with the kids I went to school with and graduated with.  But, no.  I haven’t seen some of those guys in years.  With the advent of social media, it’s easier now than before to reconnect with people, but it’s still different than hanging out with them every day or every week.

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Likewise, they're people who I worked with years ago that I haven’t seen since.  No clue where they are.  Nor do they probably know (or care) where I am...and that’s okay.  Growing apart and going in different directions is a natural part of living.  If everyone always stayed in the same place, there would be very little growth, change, or exchange of ideas around the world.  Travel, change, and growing are all necessary for us to keep becoming better people. 

Stop and think about your life for a moment.  Think back to a few years ago.  Were there people around then, who you worked with, who are no longer around?  If so, what caused you to go different directions?  A difference of ideas?  Different visions?  Did one of you change focus on what you wanted to do? 

When this kind of separation or growing apart happened with some previous coworkers, I was surprised, at first.  I wanted to try to make them stay – I didn’t want them to leave, but leaving seemed like it was the right thing for them do.

“We’ll always be good friends,” is something I used to think and tell people before they moved, or before I moved.  I don’t say that anymore.  We’ve learned the hard way that that idea is simply not true for everyone I’ve known or for everyone you’ve known.  Now, instead, I say, “Let’s stay in touch.”  That can mean something different in each relationship, scenario, or business deal. 

If you try to hold on to everyone from your past, you won’t be able to welcome new people to your team, your family, or your circle of friends.  With relationships, there are lots of moving parts.  Some of those parts are seen, and some of them are unseen.  And the other thing – whether you admit it or not, it’s going to happen.  People are going to change, they’re going to move, and they’re going to die…and that’s okay.  It’s a natural, required, part of everyone’s growth. 

If a young tree never grew, never changed, or never added and lost leaves, then it would never become one of the GIANTS in the forest.  But because all of those things happen in its natural progression of being here on the planet, then it IS able to become one of the giants in the forest. 

The same thing holds true for you, as a person, as a leader, and in your relationships.  Not everyone who started out with you years ago, will finish with you years from now.  People will come and go.  They’ll grow and change, just like you and I will. 

Have a great week!

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