“But the fact is, Greg, with the knowledge you’ve been given, you are now on the inside of what I like to call, ‘the Byrnes family circle of trust.’ I keep nothing from you, you keep nothing from me…and round and round we go.”

In the comedy classic, Meet The Parents, Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro) is an intimidating dad who makes life miserable for his daughter’s would-be fiancé, Greg (Ben Stiller). I can’t remember too many times when an entire theater howled with laughter for two hours, but it happened with this one. Someone has called comedy, “a painful story told playfully” and that’s what you get here.

A running gag has to do with the Byrnes Family “Circle of Trust.” It was a notion cooked up by Jack Byrnes to describe his paranoid approach to fatherhood, family, and friendship. I do not recommend Jack’s approach. But I would like to use that same term in a different way and propose that you need your own “Circle of Trust.” And you need it now.

Your Inner Circle

Your Circle of Trust is your inner circle. It’s made up of your go-to friends, confidantes, and homies. Are they fun? Maybe. Are they affectionate? Ideally. The important things are that they are experienced, wise, know you, love you, are in your corner, can keep a confidence, and will tell you the truth. That last one is big. You need people you can trust to tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.

Who are those people for you?

Think about the last time you made an important decision. Did you get wisdom and counsel from the people who know you best and love you most? If you’re smart you did. Especially if the decisions you made really mattered and you wanted to get it right. I learned this last year, big time.

My Big Leap Year

Who will ever forget the intensity of 2020? It was a year of pandemics, protests, and politics. It was also the year I quit my job, lost my mom, and launched my business full-time. Like you, I was reacting to a lot of things I couldn’t control. But I was also the agent in my big leap.

Quitting and business-building come with no guarantees. Big Leaps rarely do. I had to search my soul, count the cost, and really pray. I also made sure to gather my Circle of Trust. That included my precious wife, my closest friends, and some seasoned professionals because I wanted to do the right thing in the right way. One cool discovery I made was that my boys had grown up to become thoughtful young men whom I could count among my trusted advisors. Does it get any better than that?

And that’s what your Circle of Trust is: a very exclusive group of your most trusted allies and advisors.

Two Timely Takeaways

With that in mind, I have two practical questions for you:

  1. Do you know who your Circle of Trust is?
  2. Do they feel your appreciation these days?

Final thought: Jack Byrnes was pretty darn unhealthy with his Circle. Make sure to treat yours right.

Next week, I’ll help you gather your Circle of Trust so you can get the support you need when you need it.

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