For years I have said that I am one of the luckiest guys in the world. Every day I wake up with worries and anxiety about what can potentially be ahead. With that being the case there is one thing I don’t have to worry about, the network of supportive friends I have around me.
On Friday one of the best people I have ever met in my life had a goodbye party before she moves to Minneapolis for work and a new chapter in her life. While my friend Kim has been a big part of my life, we both have also been a member of the Ski Bears of Connecticut. This is a ski club, but it is more of an around the year activity club.
The best part of this club is not skiing or the events though. It is the people I have met throughout the years and the support they have given me. All of them know most, if not all of my journey. The things I deal with daily, the adversity I have faced, the surgeries I have had to overcome. Throughout all of this, these friends have been by my side.
These are the same friends who have always supported my passion for helping others with the Intense Intestines Foundation, Chronically Better You, and various charities I have tried to help. These are the same friends who watched my Ironman journey to completing 140.6 miles. They sent me messages of encouragement and reminded me I was working to inspire others.
On top of all the support these incredible friends have given me, we can go months even years without seeing each other, and pick up right where we left off. These are the friends that we all need never to let go of. These are priceless friends.
Many times I have been told by those around me they could never find friends like these, people around them are not as understanding, and it is an impossible task. And while I know there are many people out there that are not high-quality individuals, I wanted to share how I built such a network of friends around me.
It is simple in many ways but tricky at the same time…I put myself out there. This is no easy task, but I found the more I discussed my diseases, let them in, making sure they were confident I could handle my illness, and even crack jokes when the timing was right, they were going to be by my side.
While I know that it is easier to say or write than it is to do. I promise you that your best relationships will be built on your confidence to handle your chronic illnesses and make an effort to be around the people who want to see you. This does not have to be time spent on ski trips or other hard activities. Your friends will want to be around you doing the little things as well like watching movies or catching up to see a sporting event.
So get out there, try to meet new people, be confident about your history, and do what you can to build a network of great people around you for the future.
I would love to know what has kept you from doing this in the past or what might in the future. Please comment below and let’s talk!