I do not know the origin of this phrase nor do I intend on using it anytime in the near future; I have decided to safely square it away in the same abyss as “on fleek” and “bae.”
Despite my personal distaste with the term, the truth remains that our “squad” plays an integral role in who we are and who we become. For those who don’t understand the concept of a squad, it’s a close group of individuals with a common identity and a sense of solidarity. It’s commonly used to represent a group of friends, community, clan, or posse.
THE GOD SQUAD
Our squad heavily influences us. As Jim Rohn succinctly puts it:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
If I look at the people I’ve interacted with the most, I can pinpoint specific areas where their presence has left an impact on my character and who I am. I’m a culmination of their mannerisms, habits, ideas, characteristics, etc. A squad can be both a good and bad influence, which is why it is so important to carefully consider who’s allowed in.
“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”
— Apostle Paul
What is the Quality of Your Squad?
DIVERSE IN NATURE
When I consider my “squad”, the individuals are all unique and different. Each one challenges me in a certain area or another. One might serve to push me in my faith, one at work, one in relationships, one in vulnerability, one in thanksgiving, etc. I’m not saying you need ONE person for each category in your life, but the point I’m trying to make is that I allow people into my close circle who offer a wide array of expertise and are going to drive me forward because of it.
Your squad has the ability to build you up or tear you down. It’s your responsibility to decide which.
BALANCED BY DESIGN
Another way I conceptualize my squad is by concentrating on specific areas of personal weakness and prioritizing individuals who are skilled or gifted in this area. For example, I am a doer and achiever; so self-discipline and execution come natural to me. Joy —on the other hand— does not. Knowing this, I make sure to prioritize hanging out with friends who —by nature— freely exhibit joy and emotion. This act in itself teaches me to stop doing, be still, and appreciate what’s in front of me. As I’ve hung out with people who elicit joy and emotion, it has become easier for me to do in my life.
By surrounding myself with individuals who balance me out, I learn what it takes to live a holistic lifestyle.
Lastly, my squad is filled with individuals who challenge me. If your squad isn’t challenging you in one way or another, you may want to reconsider the individuals you have in it.
If I find myself the best at something, I deliberately add someone who does it better. My squad is meant to grow me, not service me.
Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room…. We are all gifts to each other, and my own growth as a leader has shown me again and again that the most rewarding experiences come from my relationships. ~Michael Dell
A Squad is not an Excuse
It’s important to distinguish the difference between your squad from the rest of your social circle. Notice how I define a squad as: a close group of individuals.
The takeaway is NOT: if a person doesn’t grow me, I need to cut them out of my life. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I believe that we have a moral obligation to love and care for all people, including the ones that rub us the wrong way.
What I AM saying is that a person can live within your social circle without become apart of your squad. In fact, you should be very selective of who you let into your close group of friends and make a priority of strengthening these relationships.
The beauty of my squad is that because I keep it small and intimate, I’m challenged by these individuals to be a better person in all areas. As a result, I’m better able to love and care for all people in ways that I wouldn’t be able to on my own.
Folks, it’s 2016 — take note of who you surround yourself with; they’re going to play a large role in who you become this year.