Who are Your Five?

The designated time for the meeting to end was drawing near. The discussion up to this point had been lively and, at times, contentious. The group’s attention was now directed to the end of the table where John was sitting. Anticipation hung in the air as all wondered how he might utilize the many pearls of wisdom that had been shared with him. It was, after all, at John’s invitation that everyone had gathered to share their thoughts and perspectives. These five folk around the table were John’s influencers. 

Jim Rohn – entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author – once wrote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with“. These are the ones who directly impact our goals, gifts, self esteem and overall well-being. As such, the intentionality we bring to the selection of those with whom we spend most of our time with is critical. 

The Quaker Discernment Circle has a long history of providing individuals with the opportunity to gather a group to walk with them as they determine a path forward. In this practice an individual is invited to share their thoughts, perspectives and experience based on a question or dilemma for which a person is seeking direction. The seeker is invited to be in a posture of deep listening and openness to the Spirit. 

Author Parker Palmer describes a similar practice, Circle of Trust, this way: A circle of trust has no agenda except to help people listen to their own souls and discern their own truths…. Its singular purpose is to support the inner journey of each person in the group, to make each soul feel safe enough to show up and speak its truth, to help each person listen to his or her own inner teacher.

Many of those I have worked with or walked with have heard me describe the importance of choosing who will influence them. Using the five fingers on my hand to represent each person, I name the roles of the people who can be influential in our overall health and well-being: spiritual director, therapist, mentor, coach, a beloved. These five form the hand that can lift us up and or gently push us forward for next step of growth in our lives. 

Whatever practice or process we use, being both aware and intentional about who we surround ourselves is critical. These individuals, sought out or not, have a significant influence and subsequent impact on our lives. 

“Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging—in love, creativity, and friendship—
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.”

– John O’Donohue

3 thoughts on “Who are Your Five?”

  1. Your piece resonated with me and I thank you for a rich store of things to ponder. And I am enjoying thinking of Parker Palmer. I became acquainted with him through the NAES.

  2. 💕 my five individual people have changed with the years but the roles I need filled in my circle remain filled 💕

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