The Power of Brotherhood
It’s been a long time since we all gathered as a group. The creases of life’s experiences betray our faces. We’re a little older, a little out of shape and life has taken its toll on us, but the glimmer in our eyes as we greet each other once again has not faded. It feels good to be back with my old friends. I scan the room and soak in their images, my heart racing as memories of great times flood my thoughts. I admire my lifelong friends as I listen to them swapping old stories from our West Point days.
I remember parting ways with my mother at the Indianapolis Airport many years ago when I left home. I turned my back on what I knew and faced the unknown future that lay ahead of me as I departed for New York and entered a phase of my life that would shape my entire future. Mom said, “Erick, you will develop friendships at West Point that will last a lifetime. Enjoy your journey and embrace the people that will join you along the way.” I didn’t appreciate her words back then, but I do now as I sat with my closest friends at our latest reunion.
We come from all walks of life and varied backgrounds and we lead very different lives today as we carve out our legacies in all corners of the country and around the world. We are doctors, venture capitalists, military commanders, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and we are killing it, but at this particular moment we are just brothers, enjoying each other and rekindling our friendships that were originally formed because of a mutual experience and a deep respect for one another.
Over twenty years ago, we connected and bonded under one vision and we experienced growing up together and it is a bond that has not weakened, even after so many years. Today we don’t see each other often. We are busy, we have families and life demands everything from us. But when we break away from the demands of life and gather together, I am reminded of the power of brotherhood.
Brothers are not beholding to time. We don’t need time together since our souls were connected so many years ago. We understand each other more than most and we love and support each other unconditionally. If I get a call from one of them, I drop everything and take the call and they do the same for me. They always pick up the phone, they always respond, ready to lock hands and support me and my family as I would for them.
I sit in awe of my West Point buddies as I reflect on their success and their lives during our latest reunion. Every one of them are successful, in their own right, and are leading extraordinary lives. As often happens when we gather, I find myself alone with my friend, Jack, a man I have grown to respect over the years. He is thoughtful, reflective, and wise beyond his years. “How did they do it, Jack? “ I turn to my friend. “Everyone one of them are leading outstanding lives, why?”
Jack smiles back at me, he’s thought about this before, “That’s easy. Every one of them have huge egos.” He nods to our friends laughing and engulfed in a lighthearted discussion, “but when it was necessary, they all learned to submit their egos for the greater good.” It was a simple answer, really, one I would have never come up with myself, but as I contemplated his answer, I realized he was right.
We became a tight group of young men, because we submitted our egos for each other to survive, and then to thrive. We sacrificed our individuality for the sake of the group and our group succeeded and elevated each one of us individually as a result. We all took that lesson with us as we attacked life to build our businesses, careers and families.
Brotherhood is powerful because it is a foundational life giving formula for success and prosperity. Try to tackle the world alone and you will wither and die in mediocrity, confusion, and frustration, but lock arms with the one standing with you and life bows at your feet. That is what my brothers taught me, that is what my brothers gave me.
We are not meant to face life on our own. God planted the desire for community in our hearts. You become who you hang out with and the group’s identity shapes your value system, which is why I know my future has always been bright, because of my friends.
Who is standing next to you? More importantly does your association with your group of friends elevate and challenge you? Life is too fragile to go at it alone, and too messy to hang out with the wrong group of people. Luckily for me, I discovered the perfect band of brothers and for that, I am forever grateful.