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Leadership Lessons—Who Do You Hang With?

One of my wife Mary Kay’s favorite sayings is “you will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read,” as spoken by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.

This has really come into full circle this week with all of the commotion in Waco and the motorcycle gang killings at the Twin Peaks restaurant. This has become the worst biker gang violence in the history of the United States. Sunday’s paper told of an unidentified member of one of the gangs who was at the restaurant but is now in hiding, fearing for his life.

He told the police that many of the people at Twin Peaks that day were simply motorcycle club members, not gang members. There was to be a meeting that day of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents to discuss biker’s rights, safety and other administration items—a meeting that happened a couple times a year. Instead, he said, the Bandidos were there to ambush the Cossacks (his club). I’ve heard it said that the Bandidos are very similar to Hell’s Angels.

The unidentified member said that many of the 170 who have been arrested and under a $1 million bond are law-abiding citizens who enjoy riding motorcycles. A member of our church who rides with Biker’s Against Child Abuse told me that trouble was brewing for a couple of months and his group was told NOT to attend any such meetings as an incident was going to happen.

I don’t know what to believe. I do believe that some of the 170 probably were innocent bikers who are law-biding and nothing to do with the violence but were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now back to the “Tremendous” Jones’ saying.

If you never heard of “Tremendous”, or haven’t seen him speak, spend some time on YouTube watching him.

“Tremendous” embodied his saying. He had close personal relationships with famous people such as Rick Warren, Dale Carnegie and Billy Graham.

Look at your own life and/or the life of some people around you. Perhaps it’s easier to look at the people you work with and who they hang with, it’s hard for most people to look in the mirror without having “reasons” for whom we associate with. (Others might simply call this “excuses”).

Leaders hang with other leaders. I’ve seen it for years. Those who are have problems associate with other people with problems. It’s easier—easier to blame someone else than simply admit the people we hang with aren’t good for us.

It sure is easy to see when examining the Waco situation. As I said, I have no doubt many of the people were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When Mary Kay and I moved to Waco, we didn’t have any family with us, nor did we have many friends.

That gave us a unique opportunity to define a new sphere of influence. I know that I’ve become a much better leader in the past five years because of the people we’ve had the opportunity to hang with.

“Tremendous” was right.

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