The Life Team: Your Source for Health and Growth

Dr. John Townsend

July 8, 2019

Most of us have lots of friends. But most of us aren’t getting the most out of our relationships, at least for what it takes to be the best person we can be, to grow and to maximize our lives. That’s where the Life Team concept comes in. This article will give you the steps to develop this powerful tool for growth.

In my just-released book People Fuel, I describe what a Life Team is. Simply put, it’s between 3-10 individuals with whom you engage on some sort of regular basis, and where the purpose is to support each others’ mutual growth. You can meet in a group, you can meet individually, or both. But the desired outcome is self-improvement in life, personal health, emotional growth, relationships, career and spiritual growth. All of what really matters!

There are 8 qualities a Life Team member needs to have, to make this all work. Here they are:

1. Shared essential values. You don’t need to have every life value be identical to yours, that can be too samey. But a basic similar lens on how you look at life.

2. Calendarized engagement in personal growth. A Life Team has a structure. “See you when I see you, bye”, in our busy world, means probably a long random time from now. But real growth requires committing to a calendar schedule and actually talking. It can just be a sharing of life’s highs and lows, a study of the Bible or a good book, or supporting and problem solving about your challenges.

3. A stance of “for” each other, with no judgment. Judgment prevents growth, it’s just that simple. When we are judged, we either retreat or push back. Nothing good happens. “For” means the Life Team members always want the best for each other, no matter what.

4. Vulnerability. We change when we are open and vulnerable about how we really are: our losses, hurts, mistakes and shame. To be fully optimized, we must be fully loved. And to be fully loved, we must be fully known.

5. Truthfulness. Members don’t avoid the hard conversations. They don’t let each other make costly mistakes in life, relationships, family or business without giving each other caring but direct feedback.

6. Mutuality. Everyone’s in this together. You’re all growing, and all vulnerable. It’s not about one person constantly bringing their problems to others for help. That’s more of being a service to that person. Instead, it’s a shifting and mutual arrangement of needs and support, back and forth, for each other.

7. Chemistry. The intangible. You have to feel some sort of “liking” for Life Team members. If the chemistry isn’t there, you begin to dread the conversations as a “well, it’s good for me”, instead of a “I can’t wait to have lunch with her.”

8. Availability. The members need to be around enough to make a difference. To do enough good to make the effort worth it, I recommend a minimum of at least one meaningful conversation a month. Life just gets better with a Life Team. For more information, read People Fuel, and best to


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