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By David Harder on January, 25, 2014

The best of us

This is love

And I’ve learned enough to know

No, no, no – won’t let go

When you want it – when you need it

You’ll always have the best of me

You’ll always get the best of me.

                        From The Best of Me –  Lyrics and Music by Brian Adams

I believe that one of the greatest cravings in human beings is the desire to bring the best of us to the world.

Julie Lafond and I were working on a particularly difficult culture project when she looked at me and declared,

“All self-esteem is based on having a direct experience of one’s productivity. These people are productive but they are in an environment where the only feedback they get is when something goes wrong.”

Another friend (Jack Canfield) emphasized the need for a supportive tribe when he said,

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

If we associate with negative and pessimistic people, great optimism will ultimately wither or get wasted in dealing with negativity and pessimism.

Work ought to be treated as a relationship. Because, most of us spend our waking hours getting ready for, commuting to, being at, coming home and recovering from work.

When we elevate work to a vital and richly rewarding relationship, every moment becomes more valuable and rewarding. But, living in that place requires courage and sustaining that courage is a product from the people who support us.

I work off of two standards. One comes from Jack’s statement. Do the five people I spend the most time contribute to the life I want to lead?

The other comes from a standard I fell into when I was designing Inspired Work. I wrote down,

 “I only want to work with brilliant and loving people.”

As the words emerged, I realized that I actually had a choice. For years, I had worked in environments filled with aggression, gossip and a fair amount of negativity. Ultimately, it was a story that I had to rewrite.

In the last twenty years, I have periodically failed to live up to the standard and those were the most painful times I’ve encountered at Inspired Work.  Today’s team treats work as a celebration and growth is a given. Praise and acknowledgement courses through our work.

Our greatest friends are here to pick us up.

Several years ago, I received a call during Thanksgiving dinner. One of my dogs was dying. A week later, I was immersed in grief when the phone rang.

Mindy Zasloff, my colleague said, “I am so sorry about your loss. You loved that little dog so much and he had a wonderful home. Now, you are coming to our home tomorrow night.”

Mindy insisted on cooking a second Thanksgiving dinner for me. She pulled her family together and invited my remaining dachshund. I will never forget how she marked an occasion of great loss with kindness above and beyond loving and brilliant.

Here are ten qualities to look for in friends and colleagues:

1. They regularly praise you and the praise is actually true.

2. They tend to forgive and yet hold everyone responsible for their actions.

3. They are consistent and consistently kind.

4. They are not held hostage by their egos.

5. When they are wrong, they promptly admit it.

6. They are the last people to tell us, “Don’t be frightened.”

    When we get frightened, they comfort us and inspire us to keep progressing.

7. They approach the challenges of life with optimism and humor.

8. They practice right action and encourage others to do the same.

9. When we praise them, they never respond, “It was nothing.” 

10. They tell the truth – with humility and kindness.

 This past week, someone on Linked-In posted a quote from Picasso that surmises the best of us and the best of me:

 The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

If you believe this, surround yourself with people that support you.

All the best.