We all need pushy friends.
Not pushy in the way that is annoying and obnoxious, but pushy in the way that makes you reach further and achieve more by pushing you out of your comfort zone to enable that growth.
I have a new friend named Adrienne who not only challenges me in every conversation we have (she’s an even bigger contrarian than I am), but has started to push me out of my primary comfort zone (the living room couch) and begin working towards becoming more physically fit.
I’ve started working out at Title Boxing Club and actually paid them for a full year of membership in advance because I knew from experience that getting fat wasn’t motivating me enough to workout, but giving them a big chunk of my money that would be completely wasted unless I kept going back would definitely keep me motivated. Adrienne also pushed me to start running, with the goal of running a half-marathon in Vegas this December. I whined and begged-off, but once I saw the event is actually on my birthday, it kind of seemed like fate.
Again, this isn’t someone who is twisting my arm and forcing me to do something I didn’t really want to do on my own. This is a friend who takes none of my bullshit excuses, suffers none of my superficial whining, and has absolute faith in my ability to execute. Her words of support and encouragement keep me pushing myself further. I like to think I’ve been this voice for other people, and it is inspiring to have this voice whispering in my own ear.
This most recent experience of being pushed into something I knew I should be doing anyway made me begin to count all the pushy friends I’ve come to count on. All the people I try to hang with on a regular basis because they push me beyond my own self-imposed boundaries and challenge me to get better and continue to increase my talents and abilities (and perhaps even add a new ability or two to my arsenal.)
Chuck Francis at Remerge Media and I have known each other for around 10 years by now (probably more.) I always thought I was the primary “idea machine” in the world, but Chuck challenges me for that title everytime we share a beer together. He takes my ideas and builds them bigger than I originally imagined, and then he’ll zing me with a forehead-slapping concept I’d never even considered and win our match of wits. If I bought him a beer for every idea he ever gave me, I could buy him an entire brewery and never come close to paying him back.
Thank you for pushing my ideas further.
Phil Rist is a friend I met through Chuck (funny how all these pushy people seem to hang together, isn’t it?) Phil is a walking vault of knowledge, which should come as no surprise since he’s an executive vice-president at Big Research. Phil’s ability to push me to connect seemingly disparate areas of business and to apply the information I already possess in new ways always makes me feel like I’m viewing the world through a window that needs cleaned. Phil applies a little mental Windex and my vision increases exponentially.
Thank you for pushing me to dig deeper.
Todd Markiewicz is my boss and friend at my day-job working in media advertising at RadiOhio, Inc. Being an Idea Guy has typically been a solo calling. I go into my creative cave and come out with a bunch of cool ideas. Being the cowboy doesn’t always work very well when you’re in the role of a manager and need to play a part in developing the talent of others — pushing them to get better and grow their own abilities. Todd’s and my favorite story is that when we first met, we pretty much found each other completely intolerable. I thought he was a big jerk who thought he knew everything about the company he’d only just begun to work for, and he thought I had a “pissy” attitude (which I absolutely admit I had during our first meeting, but will continue to give him full credit for bringing out of me in the first place!) Since then, we’ve become friends as well as colleagues. We still challenge each other on a daily basis, but now I’ve grown smart enough to “know what I don’t know” about the role of being a manager and seek out his advice and apply it (or at least attempt to apply as best I can) to get better at my job and help my team get better at theirs.
Thank you for pushing me to see the bigger picture.
Scott “That Name Tag Guy” Ginsberg is quite simply inspiration by example. Aside from being a genuine world record holder for wearing a name tag for the most consecutive days, Scott shares his unique wisdom and world view on his website HelloMyNameIsScott.com. The guy is a production workhorse. He generates more original and high impact content than anyone else I know. Each new book he publishes rapidly becomes my latest favorite. Every tweet, blog post, or video seems to speak directly to me and nag at me to do more. Produce more. Push harder.
Thank you for pushing me to create content and find my voice.
Jeffrey Gitomer has been pushing me longer than just about anyone else I know. A name that started only as the author of a book (my first book) on sales grew into a friend and mentor I could never begin to repay for the insight and opportunity he’s brought into my life and career. Being the busiest and most successful author and speaker in the world on topics like selling, customer loyalty, attitude, and networking has never prevented him from adhering to his own personal brand of delivering value first and making friends everyday.
Thank you for pushing me to develop my own personal brand values and to share them generously.
Oh, and the scoop on Adrienne? She’s served her country in the military, recently graduating a nine-week program to become a US Army Drill Sergeant — but she’s not done yet! She leaves this week for Costa Rica where she’ll spend the next 30-days training as a yoga instructor. You see, the best pushy friends don’t just push you… they push themselves.
Thank you to all my pushy friends, the ones I’ve mentioned here and the ones who remain unnamed. You’ve made a difference in my life and in the lives of others. Keep pushing!