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The 4 Types of People You Do and DO NOT Need in Your Life

The quality of the people in our lives determine the direction and quality of our life - Andy Stanley

You've probably heard that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, which is classic Jim Rohn. It's true, and it's important.


Everywhere I look, people are talking about, writing about, and posting about the people and community we surround ourselves with. And I think this is interesting in terms of timing, because we are coming out of the first summer where many of us have been able to be with people, to travel, and to start to lean back into community.

I’m seeing this personally as I drop my kids off at school and connect with more of the parents. And as we're getting more rooted into what is still a newer to us church.And so community is very front and center.

There were some relationships that didn't survive the pandemic. There were some relationships that haven't survived the changes in me. There were some relationships where it was just time to shift.

So how do we evaluate the shift? How do we ensure that we are not just being complacent and comfortable, but that we are giving thought and intention to who we are spending time with and what that looks like?

Well, lets talk about the 4 types of people that you need in your life, and the four types of people that you don't - the people that are taking you and killing your calling. The cost is too high for that.

Let’s preface this with a quick quote from the book:

“While boldly living your purpose in the power of who God created you to be can function as a permission slip for others to live their most powerful and authentic lives, our lives can also function as a mirror that reflects the shortcomings of others. And sometimes, there isn’t a willingness to adapt or meet us where we are. Sometimes we have to let people go that are no longer in alignment with us as we move in the direction we are called to. That isn’t necessarily a them-thing or an us-thing, but purely a we-aren’t-on-the-same-page-enough-for-me-to-be-supported-by-maintaining-this-relationship thing.”

The reason I highlight this is that when we talk about the people we don't need, sometimes people take that into the space of “are you just telling me to cut out people in my life? What if that person who is exhibiting these traits that you're talking about with regards to people I don't need is my mother, or my husband or my best friend?”

I’m not saying that you need to blow up relationships.

I am, though, talking about boundaries, about being intentiona, and about how much time and space you allow those relationships to take up in your life. I am talking about which relationships are worth fighting for, and which ones are worth really leaning into. If it's a marriage, of course it's worth fighting for and leaning into. But if there is someone who you just defaulted into hanging out with for a number of years, maybe it'd be easy to drift or put up some hardline boundaries with them.



Why do we need encouragers? And who are the encouragers?

They’re the people in your life who always build you up and are excited about what's next. They're excited about what's possible and see what you're capable of. Not only do they see it, but they tell you and you can pick up on and take on that energy from them. They remind you that “I can! I am capable! I can do this. I do have the capacity.” And because they believe in you, you can borrow their faith while you build your own.

Who in your life might be this kind of person?

One of my examples is my friend Jason.I will be having the most frustrating day and I’ll open up my Instagram to 9+ messages from Jason (because that's how many Instagram will show you there are).

“JULI!!!! LETS GO!!!!”

He reminds me to lean in and conquer what is in front of me. He believes in me, and that reminds me who I am. It reminds me of how God sees me. It helps me step out of the swirl of my life (because sometimes I get stuck in my own mud - we need people who will lift us up out of it).

Those are the encouragers. And if you're thinking, “I don't know if I have one of those,” then evaluating who is in your life, and starting to think about up leveling your people is URGENT.

If you're not surrounded by encouragers, or you don't have those encouragers in your life, you likely have these…


BTW - we've all been these people (we might be these people right now) so lets have some compassion here. We can love these people, we can choose not to be these people, and we can build healthy boundaries in relationship with these people.

Downers are the people who see the worst all the time. They're the people who tell you you can't, they tell you you shouldn't, they project a “life happens to you” mindset on to you.

“I don't think I could.”

“I tried once and I failed, so that's going to happen to you too.”

That's not truth or reality. It’s a a story, a mental construct. It’s their ego engaging in trying to keep them safe, which means not changing. And by extension, the people around can’t change because that creates change in their life. Remember, our egos want what certainty definitiveness and control.

We have subconscious unwritten agreements with the people in our lives - social contracts.

“I show up this way. You show up that way. We interact this way. We all know how this roles.”

When we change, we break the contract and their ego essentially goes “WTF?!”

Downers the people who make you question your capability and your worthiness. These are people that we consciously get to choose how much energy and time we are willing to give to in terms of building and maintaining a healthy relationship.

It might be a family member who you choose to spend a day with instead of a week. And sometimes its temporary while you work through your triggers and traumas, build more resilience and confidence, and become more capable of spending time with them and maintaining your mindset and emotional health.

When we get to a place of living in bold faith, unapologetic authenticity, and fearless courage, we can interact in those relationships in a way that they don't impact us, or they don't impact us as quickly/deeply, because we've done our own healing. So we can approach them from a place of compassion.


Do you have anyone in your life that will not allow you to stay in the status quo?

I'm married to one, and this is more than just an Enneagram type (type 8’s are literally called the challengers).

Sidebar: people can show up in multiple categories. I made them up - there is no “box” here.

Anyway, my husband is willing to call me on my crap. He is willing to say, what needs to be said. Instead of people pleasing and allowing me to walk right into my blind spots, he will ask questions and he will speak things out that he sees coming. He sees his patterns. And it's a good thing, as much as it's not fun sometimes.

The challengers in our lives remind us to step beyond our self-protective habits and patterns. Those challengers will say, “You might not see this, but I do.” They’re willing to be in conflict, and they’re willing to deal with the fallout that might exist, because they care about us enough to say what they see.


Again, we can love these people, but they're the people who live in the land of “Meh.”

They might see something coming, they might see a drift into an old pattern, but they very well may not because they’re checked out.

These are people who are comfortable, who are committed to their default way of being, who have stopped reaching for more. They aren't growing or moving towards their own calling.

When we are clear that God is calling us to something, we need to be moving together and marching together because we're not built to do this courageous, challenging, and perseverance-building work by ourselves. We're built for community. We're built for connection. As Jesus-followers, within the context of us being the body, we can’t function as one finger off by itself. It doesn't work.

Ephesians 41:1-6 says, In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel.”

Sidenote #1: We are meant to be moving. We are not meant to be stuck. We are not meant to be “Meh” about life.

“I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily…”

Sidenote #2: We keep marching, we keep moving, and we need people who will pull us along and who we can pull along, as we all move in the same direction.

“...pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.”

Sidenote #3: Not only are we moving together, but we are caring for each other.

And then this really hits home for me in this context of people:

“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together”

Sidenote #4: I have an image of a multi-lane highway with fresh pavement and it just goes straight. It goes on and on and on and on, which is easy for me to imagine because I grew up in Saskatchewan, and it's very flat in the southern half of Saskatchewan… I also have this visual of all of these lanes, that go out sideways as far as you can see. And we're all lined up, side-by-side in our own lanes, on our own paths, but all moving in the same direction as a front moving forward together, and keeping everyone in step, in position to be used to make a difference and to accomplish what we are custom-built for. To live into what has been custom built for us. FOR US.

Apathetic people don’t call us on things, they don’t call us up to our highest and best, and they're usually not moving. If we become the average of the people we're around, and we are surrounded by these people, we stop moving. Or at least slow way down, because we've got these anchors holding us in place that we have to drag along, or that we just can't move.


This my friend, Kim - well not in the picture. In my life. lol (and Kim is also a challenger - like I said before, people can fit multiple categories, because I made them up).

Anyway, Kim is one of the people I can call when things are frustrating and going sideways. Maybe I need to vent, maybe I'm angry, or maybe I am just I've had it. She's someone who will listen and make that effort to understand what I'm feeling. She will make an effort to see things from my perspective.

It's important for us to have safe spaces where we can get stuff out, process difficult emotions, and move through and metabolize those emotions (because otherwise it can get stuck in our body, which is a whole other conversation).

What's beautiful about empathizers is that they affirm our value. They tell us that we’re awesome (genuinely) and they tells us they love us. And “Brene Brown 101” - they will not let us shame spiral, because shame cannot survive empathy. Things that trigger shame in us do not survive being spoken well. There is a release that comes when we speak things out.

Also, when we are in fear (which typically is in play when we need empathizers) doesn’t survive love. The way that God loves us, perfect love, casts out all fear. There's no space for it where He is. And from a human perspective, that love from this friend, while not a replacement for the perfect love that God offers us, takes that fear and pushes it back. It seem less powerful, like it has less weight than it did before.

In addition to affirming our value, empathizers won’t let us tell ourselves stories. There is space for getting it out, but then comes the, “Now what are you going to do about it?” They remind us to take our power back and figure out our next. And that keeps us out of the space of…


We’re trained to live in this space as a society, which means there are a lot of people that fit this category (and probably a bunch in your social circle).

“Let's have a contest about whose problems are worse.”

Commiserators feed off of each other's negativity, scarcity, entitlement, and victim mindset to feel significant and connected. It's not healthy. When we have relationships with commiserators, most of our conversations with them revolve around what's not going well, what should have happened, and who is to blame for it.

(Also, Jensen Ackles... did anyone else have a crush on him when they were 12? Just me... Ok... moving on.)

What's interesting to me - because I see this in my practice when clients shift - is that when people step into their power and start living into their calling, old relationships that they have carried for years just don't fit anymore. I like to ask what changed, and I usually get a response like this: “They don't get it, they don't get me anymore.”

Sidenote: This category usually goes hand in hand with Downers. It’s a pretty typical blend.

Commiserators are disempowering. There are so many relationships built on a foundation of commiserating together. And so we'll see people changing and shifting, and then relationships just don't fit - they have nothing to talk about with these friends anymore, because they don't want to spend their time complaining or seeing the negatives in life.


We can try to do everything ourselves, be self-made, and push/force/hustle our way to success. Or we can look to people who have accomplished what it is that we are called to accomplish (or something similar), who have gone through something that we are facing, and who have context/understanding of what works. These people can help you step through, or even leapfrog over, the challenges that are in front of you. Find people who have built the systems, or recovered and healed from the grief, or stepped out of their comfort zone in a phenomenal and surprising way, or raised kids in a way you admire.

Yes, we are called to face things. Yes, there is a need to build endurance and steadfastness and perseverance so that we are equipped for the things that we're called to. There are going to be challenges that we can't jump over, but we have to move through - mentors are helpful for us in that space too. But, what are the things that we can learn from other people's experiences, so that we don't have to face extra challenges? What can we learn so that we don’t creating roadblocks on our path that God didn’t intend for us to face?

Often mentors show up in our lives because God placed them there. But if our pride gets in the way - “I can do it. I’ll figure it out. Nothing's wrong. I don't need help.” - we can miss out on the tools and equipping that was meant for us.

Mentors have the capacity to help us move along our path of our calling more efficiently. We can benefit from their perspective, knowing that someone else gets it. We can have conversations with people who are on the other side, or a few steps ahead of what we're facing. We can borrow their map (Andy Stanley).

This is one of the great joys for me in my work. I get to function as a mentor and teach the things that I learned the hard way. I get to help people work through and skip over the challenges, so they can build a life and business that serves their calling without sacrificing their faith, their family, or themselves in the process. Why? Because I’ve lived (and am living) it.

Mentors help us stay on track and on target.


“You should _____” and “You're supposed to _______” and “It's supposed to look like ________” people. They should all over you.

These are people that love to tell you how to live your life, grow your business, eat, shop, raise your kids, and spend your money. Often, it's people who haven't walked anything like what you're walking through, haven't built a business in a way (or with the same values and goals) that honours you, that haven’t raised kids in the same context that you're raising kids, and whose values are fundamentally different from yours.

All they want to do is give you advice and try to make you do it their way. Why? Because they think they're right, or they have a need for significance. But their advice doesn’t build you, it burdens you.

These are not the people that we want to allow to create the direction and the quality of our life. They create shame spirals and blame spaces. They project onto you that you're not enough.

People who haven't walked anything like what you're walking and just want to give their opinion to meet their need for significance ARE NOT people you want to take advice from.

If you want good advice, go read your Bible - it's got way better guidance. I'm not kidding. And it’s fascinating. So do the mentors and the encouragers and the challengers and the empathizers in your life. Plus, sometimes you don’t need guidance - you actually need to trust yourself. Sometimes you just need to know someone's in your corner.


Whatever season you're entering right now, take a pause and start to look at broadly.

Are the people in your life giving you life?

Are they building you and allowing you to build them (because it's reciprocal)?

Or are you surrounded by people who draw energy from you?

Are you surrounded by people that bring you down or don't believe in you?

Then look for the opportunities to change your circle. And ask God to change it, because He will. He'll send you an army of the people that you need. You have to be available to them showing up, open, and looking for them. That’s your part.

And if you need support, reach out - I’d love to support you and find the best fit within our spaces for you.



(Book yourself into my calendar for a clarity call here)

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