“May your friends be like the sun as it rises in its might.” – Judges 5:31

A few days ago, I received a Skype text message from a young colleague of mine with whom I had worked closely for several years in a mentor/mentee relationship. Even though we do not see each often these days, we still keep in touch. He was enquiring after my welfare. I immediately replied “Superb thanks and you?”.  I thought that my reply was comprehensive but he continued, ignoring my concern about his welfare, “How is everything?”.

It was then that I appreciated his interest in a more detailed account of my well-being and went on to elaborate covering different aspects of my life, including ambition, good relationships, self-confidence, diversity of work interests, health, community service, parental pride, productivity and, last but not least, friendships.

He eventually responded to my interest in his welfare only to say it was not as robust as mine and I went on to share with him, as I do routinely with my business clients, a sample profile of the affirmations of abundance to which we should all aspire. He thanked me as soon as he received it and my wish of friendship is that he adapt it for himself.

This caused me to reflect on the value of friendship, whether with family members, close friends, work colleagues or in some other social setting, and to recognize how this has served me throughout my life.

As the philosopher Cicero wrote: “Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”

Friendship has its role in building partnerships and is manifested as you share time (personal, work and/or community service) with others and particularly when you focus on the “Now” about which I am reminded by a close friend on a daily basis.

This advice is reinforced by many others:

(1) Bil Keane: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

(2) Mother Teresa: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

(3) Mahatma Gandhi: “The future depends on what you do today.”

(4) Kiran Desai: “The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.”

(5) Albert Camus: “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”

(6) George Harrison: “It’s being here now that’s important; There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”

(7) Eckhart Tolle: “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

Friendship is an important part of the Shepherding process. Shepherds engage their business clients as friends, they try to be the wind beneath their wings so that businesses can fly and contribute to national sustainable economic development. Like an airline pilot the Shepherd must focus on the “Now”.

The Shepherd gets to know the client’s personal and business history, goes into confidential mode, builds confidence about the potential for success, inspires the hard work principle, builds ambition and self-confidence, and creates an atmosphere of security often fueled by friendship.

The Shepherding process offers life coaching services. The Life coaching fraternity (www.lifecoaching.com) believes that each of us has the wisdom and power within us to make our life be what we want it to be. They see the coaching relationship as an alliance, a partnership, a friendship, a process of inquiry that empowers clients to reconnect with their own inner wisdom, to find their own answers, to rediscover those powerful moments of choice out of which lasting change grows.

Life coaching draws upon a variety of tools and techniques from other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, neuroscience, positive adult development and career counseling with an aim towards helping people identify and achieve personal goals.

The Shepherding process also imparts business mentoring services by engendering the business systems planning cultures of (1) corporate governance discipline; (2) selling in response to consumer needs; (3) working smarter and harder to enhance productivity; (4) profitability as a necessary element for business success; and (5) the importance of a good credit rating to complement other excellent individual characteristics of reliability and responsibility.

The Shepherding process facilitates the execution process and, through a series of dashboards, monitors the performance of the business across the board. Corrective action is recommended when necessary along the journey to sustainable success. The client is often cautioned, as Skip Weitzen, the author of “Hypergrowth” (with whom I worked in the Caribbean 15 years ago), has advocated: “Start small, do it right, make a profit and then expand.”

In my experience, so different is each shepherding experience because of the diversity of client involvement and interest that invariably the Shepherd learns as well.

Let us mobilize the blessings of friendship and watch it exponentially nourish our souls, our lives and our businesses.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)