Over the weekend, I had the honor of watching one of my closest friends walk across the graduation stage and receive his doctoral hood in front of all of his family and friends. Although he tried to remain humble about it, I can tell that accomplishing this lofty task meant a lot to him. Getting the hood in front of his family and friends was important as well. According to Harper & Palmer (2015), Black men accounted for just 2.3% of total doctorates awarded between 1981-2011. There are a myriad of reasons for that (this could be a whole dissertation), I’m just happy to say that my bro achieved a goal so many others wish they could carry out. I remember talking to him about joining a doctoral program when he first got accepted three years ago and now watching him on the other side of it after witnessing the ups and downs of his personal journey inspired me.
After the graduation, he had a party and I was able to connect with the different people in his life: fraternity brothers, friends, and family which is always interesting. There are only a few times in one’s life when you can engage with an individual’s various parts of their journey: graduations, wedding (s), gender reveal parties, etc. These opportunities shouldn’t be taken for granted as you can learn a lot about an individual. One of the standout moments happened while talking to his male friends and frat brothers. I remembered a quote related to the law of averages theory shared with me in college:
“You’re the average of the five people who you spend the most time with.”
Your circle is vital to your success in this world. In the couple of hours that I was speaking to his folk, we talked about collaborating, opportunities to do work for our community, and traveling. All of this after just meeting earlier in the day. I can imagine the types of conversations that my bro has with them just based off of the limited time that I spent with them. I can tell that they all pour into each other and push one another to strive for bigger things in life. I reflected on my life and the need to have a strong circle. I have some pretty dope people pouring into my spirit and dreams. They’re also holding me accountable when I say that I’m going to do something. If I’m not doing my part, it’s a problem. Hell, it was my bro that encouraged me to begin my doctoral program and is one of the people that’s been cheering me on the entire way.
Who are those people in your life? Who are the folks that will call you on your BS without hesitation? Who are the people pouring into your life? More importantly, are you pouring into them? What role are you playing in your circles?