If someone tries to suck the life out of you, what would you do? Who would you turn to?
And, what if that very person was someone you once trusted and respected? Someone you thought you could look up to and champion?
Instead, this person fails you in many ways and proves to be a much lesser person than you hoped.
What would that be like for you?
Today, I told a very good friend of mine that when such a thing happened to me, I would have been crushed at any other time. Not now, though. Now, I am different.
And, I told her that I am grateful that I feel as though I am a much stronger person than I was compared to a few years ago.
My friend told me in earnest,"But, you have always been strong."
It was very kind of her, but I wasn't sure if it was true. I reminded her of a very rough time in my life a few years ago, to which she was privvy to, and I told her that I didn't feel so strong back then.
"Yes, you were strong back then too," she reminded me in turn. "You probably just didn't realise it at the time."
I am blessed to have found such a friend who has seen strength in me, even at a time when I didn't even recognise my own strength.
No wonder when I was making a list recently of people I consider as allies, friends, and professional champions as part of my "life transition" exercise, she made it to all those lists. Considering we have met online over 8 years ago, and seen each other in person only a handful of times over the last 3 to 4 years, we have been through a lot together. We have shared a number of personal and professional challenges and victories over the years.
We even have had the unique privilege of being friends who worked together on different projects. I have hired her, and she has hired me, on different occasions. We have been each other's bosses and colleagues. We have had troubles, yet we've survived them.
When I left my job recently, this good friend of mine is one of the first one I talked to. And, she was one of the first to offer me not only encouragement and support, she has even offered me a real professional opportunity again through her company.
I was humbled, honoured, and grateful.
That's why when I think of friends like her, I remember that my strength is not only my own. My strength is in the people, the friends and family, who keep me company when I feel the weakest.
No one can suck the life out of me even if they try their hardest because I am surrounded with people who keep helping me to hold on to that life. To take me down completely, life suckers will need to take down every single person who cares about me too.
Thankfully, I like surrounding myself with strong, smart people who don't go down easily either.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.