I watch as our understanding of the world we’re inhabiting and operating in evolves as we accumulate successes, failures, scar tissue, perhaps (if we’re lucky) even what can be termed “mastery”. You begin to understand more and more “how it is.” Frequently you have less tolerance for those who are learning that for their first time—or worse—having to learn it again. You developed the ability to recognize superior skills; maybe even what Dan Sullivan calls “Unique Ability.” You even possess the wisdom to see where you are only competent, and you’ve learned to stay away from your domains of incompetence.
In the course of your journey, it’s likely your friends or day to day companions will change. Some may fall away as your entrepreneurial energy calls you to act. Some may become less interested in what brought you together in the first place. A few new friends who share your interests and energy appear. But being an independent critical thinker is a lonely, sometimes isolating place, right? You don’t feel the warmth of the majority because you don’t agree with the majority.
This transition (evolution) in relationships it seems to me, is a delicate and troubling matter. It’s disruptive, disappointing—it can be a let-down—to learn that someone or some group who you assumed shared all your values and interests over the years has less interest in continued learning and growing than you do. They may have no interest in increased illumination. That they do not pursue more intentional life integration, or attaining higher consciousness– what we (with a bow of thanks to Giulio Tononi), call “Phi”– is an unpleasant shock. Naturally you want to share your evolving, maturing view with them, your increased self-knowledge, your indisputable expert-ness to bring real value in your domain. You’ve looked forward to the fun of that. You want to share this trip with them in the same way you all began together in the organization, or on this journey 20 or 30 years ago.
But could that desire to show what you’ve been thinking about or working on, to energize them, to proselytize…be a lack of wisdom on your part? It seems to me only some people (a small number) have the Entrepreneur Owner-Manager fire forever. Only a few can “hear” you. You want so badly for them to hear you so you can generatively share the future with them. But candidly, your few friends that can hear…will. Those that cannot will self-select out by their behavior. There’s no blame there.
What may be the most important thing to understand I think, is that as you are striving for increased learning and growing, you actually must systematically discard your old ways of operating, habits –and yes, even relationships–to give you the energy to grow. If you understand that, or better yet, get ahead of it, then you will be able to continue on your generative journey uninterrupted.
Having close relationships with family members, friends, professional colleagues, and neighbors is a component of the good life, sure. But it is challenging—and it can be highly challenging—to grasp the insight that many of the relationships that came with you this far on the journey may actually choose not to go further with you if you are continuing to strive. How incredibly fortunate we are when we realize this and so have the opportunity to build new, energy creating relationships for the next chapters of our lives. If we are prepared to actually let these relationships go (blamelessly), it will set us both free for new high moments.