How your friendships shape your future as an artist

Choosing the right influences can make or break your development

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.

– Khalil Gibran

You’re at a concert and a five piece band comes to the stage. Immediately you sense there’s something amiss. The lead singer is well dressed and has a great stage presence. The other four players in the band, however, don’t look the part. Instead, they are dressed in street clothes and slink onto the stage in a nonchalant fashion. When they begin to play, what you hear matches the disconnect between leader and band – the obvious skill of the leader is overshadowed by the lack of quality in the accompaniment.

Here’s the question: How would you evaluate the band’s performance? By the talent of the leader? Or would the band’s mediocrity be the thing you remember most?

Just like a lead singer can’t excel without skilled musicians providing support,  you can’t become a great artist without positive influences from the people closest to you. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn asserts, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If that is true, then our artistic lives are either being enhanced or diminished based on the quality of our five closest relationships.

This doesn’t mean we should search for five immensely talented artists and spend all our time with them. You may have close friends that don’t share your creative passion.  However, the people closest to you must at least share a positive attitude, a desire to grow, and a heart to serve and help others. If they don’t, you aren’t going to grow as much as you could, and your creativity will reflect that lack of positive influence.

Your friends should not only accept you for who you are, but also see you for who you can be.

Take a look at your closest relationships and ask yourself if they are pushing you forward or pulling you back. Then set a goal to spend more time with those that accelerate your growth, and less time with those that aren’t growing at all.

The person you’ll become depends on the people you keep around.

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