If you are like me, you love this time of year! Perhaps you have been…
No matter if you are a newlywed seeking to establish or strengthen a solid foundation for your marriage that we write for in The First Five Years: Make the Love Investment That Lasts A Lifetime; A growing couple that might enjoy our bestseller Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti or a Single Mom that can gain hope and help from 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make, that is needing to reestablish a support system for you and your children, or a man or woman wanting to create a personal board of advisors for your personal life, ministry or business, we all need a strong support system for a solid, strong life.
The first step to being a person who makes good decisions is to surround yourself with good, smart, reliable and God-honoring people. Life is all about relationships. So, who do you need in your network so help you achieve the life for which you are praying? We call thee vital relationships a “Successnet” because life can feel much like a tight rope, and we all need a net to catch us if we stumble or give us confidence as step out in faith.
The Bible says, “In a multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 24:6 NKJV). You want to invest in these relationships because insight and wisdom from these key players will be especially important to the success of your life, ministry, business or marriage and family. Because this group of people is so vital to your future, we will call this your Successnet. Who are some of these key players and why do you need them in your life? (Download as our gift: My SuccessNet Planning Page)
Family and Friends
Family and friends are key players in your Successnet. Your life and /or marriage will grow stronger as you learn to forge strong relationships with your friends and family, and in a crisis, they will be the first ones to show up. So, nurture those relationships during the good times, and if rough times come, you will have the support you need to make it through. In your family ask:
Who has lived (or is living) the kind of life I want to live?
With friends, ask: “Who do I spend time with that help me become my best self?
Which relationships in my friends and family, are attentive listeners and wise sounding boards.”
Pour time into these life-giving relationships.
Your pastor, friends who are in full-time ministry, marriage and family counselors, small-group leaders, nonprofit leaders, parenting experts, life coaches and if you are married, then relationship mentors are some of the people who can play the role of spiritual advisors in your life. You will sometimes face decision points, tough transitions, and difficult circumstances, and you will want some people to help you discern God’s view on the matter at hand.
These key relationships are not made overnight, so the best way to have the spiritual advisors in your life when you most need them is to have them in your life on a regular basis.
Attend church and get to know the pastor (or some of the staff pastors). Join a small-group Bible study. Participate in men’s and women’s ministries. Involve yourself in parachurch groups that interest you both. (Parachurch groups are nonprofit, spiritually based groups that are not a local church, for example: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Marriage Encounter, Mothers of Preschoolers, Single Mom Circle.) And in a healthy family and friendship circle, often family members and friends can play a dual role as spiritual advisors too. We invite you to become a member of the Living Love-wise Community too.
Who are the Spiritual Advisors your trust and look up to?
Health Care Professionals
Physicians, allergists, optometrists, nutritionists, OB/GYNs, personal trainers, and other health professionals who care for your physical bodies are all a part of your success. If you are young and healthy, you may underestimate their influence, but they will become more valuable to you with every passing year. One ministry we have seen wonderful fruit in our own lives is First Place 4 Health.
List all the health and wellness professionals you need to keep you living longer and stronger.
People never think they need these people until their houses are flooded or burn down, a tornado hits, or a family member has a health crisis or car accident, or, God forbid, a spouse dies. But it is precisely because life is unpredictable, and calamities do come and that we need to be wise and forward-thinking. As a single or couple, you need people who care about you and will give you sound advice on good health, auto, home (or rental), and life insurance.
Ask friends and family for referrals and check out various companies online to gather information to select the best people to serve your insurance needs.
Everyone needs to plan well for a bright financial future, and we all have to pay taxes—and we’d all like to save as much on those taxes as possible! To help you navigate the financial waters of life, you will need people in your life who understand how to budget, stretch a dollar, tax preparation, accounting, investments, and retirement planning. You may also want business or entrepreneur advisors. We are a part of masterminds for our professional life and are members of numerous networks and organizations that consistently build into our lives personally and professionally.
Who can help you:
Lawyers or Legal Help
Friends who know the law—police officers, lawyers, and paralegals—are the kind of people you want to be able to call, even in the middle of the night if you have to, so you can make critical decisions if something horrendous happens. Some of us, because of our professions, need lawyers to watch out for us in business transactions. Others of us might need constitutional law advice, and still others might need help for family or futures.
What type of lawyer do you need?
Transportation Dealers and Mechanics
Unless you live in a big city and take public transportation, you need someone you can trust to sell you a reliable car at an affordable price. You also need trustworthy mechanics to keep the car or truck in reliable working order.
I will buy my car from:
I will get my car serviced by:
Once you own a home, you need people in the field of building and maintaining homes. You will need to know people skilled in plumbing, heating and air conditioning, gardening, painting, electricity, and general home repairs. A reputable contractor will know all those kinds of people in your local area.
For my current living situation, I need these types of home care professionals:
Realtors/ Mortgage Brokers
When you decide you are financially prepared for homeownership, you need trustworthy people who will look at your current needs and your future housing needs, then get you the best home for the most affordable price. Quality professionals in this field consider your life goals and future dreams as they help you decide on a home investment strategy.
Who can help me find and fund the home of my dreams?
What Are You Looking For?
So how do you find these people? Is it effective to randomly do an internet search or locate through places like an App like Yelp? At times you may find discover a quality person this way, but it is not the most efficient method. The best way to find the kind of top-notch, quality professionals you will need is to know what you are looking for, then set a strategy to meet them.
What you want are people you can trust. How can you know that a person is and trustworthy? Well, no test is 100 percent foolproof, because people at any point can decide to make stupid or selfish choices and leave us in the wake of their sin. For the most part, however, trustworthy people possess the following characteristics:
- Proven Track Record
- Personal Integrity
- Positive Work Ethic
- Passionate Calling
- Personal Accountability
(We share more on how to discover if a person does possess these traits in our book, The First Five Years) But a quick rule of thumb:
Ask for references and referrals from those you already trust. We like to say;
“Friends introduce friends to friends”
Do you have all or most of the key people needed for your Successnet? If not, you need to talk about and decide which relationships you need to build and when and how you will go about making those new connections.
You are the sum total of the information you know, the places you go, and the relationships you sow.
Free Download My SuccessNet Worksheet
Bill and Pam Farrel are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise, authors of 55 books including other books that will strengthen your life and relationships: 7 Simple Skills for Every Man/ 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman; 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make; 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make; The Marriage Meet Ups: Devotional Planner for Couples Who Want More Passion, Purpose and Productivity, as well as the resources listed in this blog above.