The VIP Section

Who gets to be in your VIP Section?

If you’ve ever been to a nightclub before, then I’m sure that you’ve heard of the VIP (aka, Very Important Person) section before.

If not, the VIP section of a nightclub is the section of the club where some very lucky people get to enjoy some very cool perks.

People in the VIP section don’t wait in line like everyone else.

People in the VIP section are given super comfortable seats and a table with specialized service, just for them.

Most importantly, people in the VIP section get to enjoy the absolute best that the nightclub has to offer.

Make no mistake, it’s an honor, privilege, and a pretty incredible experience to enjoy VIP access.

At this point, I wouldn’t blame you if you were wondering, “umm okay, I haven’t been to a nightclub in years. What in the hell does this have to do with me?”

A lot, actually.

You might not be in charge of the VIP section for a fancy nightclub, but you’re in charge of the VIP section for something that’s far more important:

You’re in charge of the VIP section of your life.

Not Everyone in the Front Row is a Fan

One of my buddies told me a quote a few years ago that has stuck with me for years. In fact, it’s one of the most important quotes that I have ever heard in my life:

“Not everyone in the front row is a fan.”

This is so true.

This might not be too fun to acknowledge, but it’s possible that some of the people who have the closest view of our lives (our significant others, friends, family members, coworkers, etc.) might not have our best interests in mind.

Actually, in some cases, they may have the exact opposite of our “best interests” in mind.

Some people find pleasure in our pain.

Some people are stuck in their negativity and are hellbent on spreading that negativity onto you.

Some very insecure people find a strange sense of enjoyment from seeing us try and fail.

Or simply put, some haters just need to hate.

There is no doubt in my mind that as you’re reading these words, you know exactly who these people are in your life.

Maybe you’ve allowed these people into the innermost circle of your life, maybe you’ve allowed them to get a clear and unobstructed view of your hopes and dreams, and maybe you have granted them the all-important “VIP access” to your life.

If so, let me be the first to say that they don’t deserve it.

Since we don’t have a musclebound bouncer with a clipboard and a flashlight following us around everywhere, it’s going to be up to us to guard the VIP section of our lives as if our lives depended on it.

That’s because it does.

Let’s cut to the chase here. We’re here on this earth to live our best lives.

Equally as true, not everyone wants that for us.

If we consider the VIP section of our lives to be only for the people who bring out the best in us, fully appreciate us (flaws and all), and make our lives better because of their presence in it, then that doesn’t leave any room in the VIP section for the people who fall short of that standard.

Take it from me–I have spent a large portion of my life letting all sorts of jokers into my personal VIP section.

Some of these people include: significant others who have cheated on me, coworkers who I thought were my friends but weren’t, and some friends who purposefully abused my trust. It was only until the past few years that I smartened up and started guarding the VIP entrance more seriously.

Access to the VIP section isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. And it’s a privilege that not everyone deserves.

If you have someone in your life who is consistently making you feel miserable, sad, angry, or any other negative emotion, I’m not saying that you have to throw him/her out of the nightclub (even though that wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.)

Unfortunately, hecklers can still come to the stadium. Haters can still hang out at the nightclub. It’s impossible to keep these people out of our lives completely.

But from now on, the front row is for real fans only, and the VIP section is only for the special people who have earned the right to be there.

Not Everyone Can Be “Very Important”

You guys already know how serious I am about creating a nicer world, and one of the quickest ways to make it happen is to consistently be nice to ourselves.

By allowing the wrong people to get full access to the innermost parts of our lives is one of the meanest (if not, cruelest) things that we can consciously do to ourselves.

In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that doing so is the most predictable recipe for emotional pain that exists in this world.

The door to our hopes, our lifelong dreams, our deepest secrets, and our heart & soul should not be allowed to be accessed by anyone who happens to walk into our lives.

I don’t care if the person is your long-time significant other, your family member, or someone you’ve known your entire life, access to the VIP section must be earned.

Let’s face it, not everyone in our lives can be “very important.”

If everyone in our lives is “very important,” that’s the same thing as saying that no one is.

Only the real fans deserve the privilege of being the “Very Important People” in our lives.

Who are these very important people?

They are the first ones to help us up when we fall down.

They encourage our hopes and dreams instead of stomping on them.

They stick around when everyone else is bailing out on us.

They build us up instead of tear us down.

They treat us with dignity and respect at all times.

They offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on when we need it.

They love us unconditionally.

The bar is set pretty damn high for VIPs–that’s why these people are “very important.”

If we’re guarding the VIP entrance like we should be, then very few people will ever earn VIP access in our lives. And in some cases, people who once earned VIP status in our lives in the past may no longer be worthy of that honor now if they fail to meet the standard mentioned above.

In case you’re wondering, that doesn’t mean that the non-VIPs in our lives deserve less-than-positive treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You probably work with a lot of non-VIPs. You might have a lot of friends who will never earn VIP status. You might even be married to a non-VIP. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care about these people. 

I have always believed that everyone in our lives is a teacher. This is especially true for the non-VIPs in our lives.

We have a lot to learn from all of the people in our lives, and their presence may be necessary in order to learn critical lessons that will allow us to grow into our best selves.

These people deserve our kindness and our love.

As long as they act right, they can hang out in the club as long as they want. We’re just not letting them into the VIP section where our hopes and dreams live, until they have earned the right to be there.

Truthfully, that’s not even the main issue.

The much bigger concern is that too many of us have made a habit of allowing people into the VIP section who haven’t earned the right to be there.

Just like a nightclub owner wouldn’t make a habit of inviting knuckleheads to the VIP section who like to “trash the club” by breaking glasses, pouring champagne all over the couches, and acting like a damn fool–you probably shouldn’t do the same in your VIP section either.

Not only do these destructive people not deserve VIP access, but they don’t even deserve access to your nightclub (aka, your life).

We must take the responsibility of guarding our VIP sections seriously. Only the people who appreciate us and consistently bring out the best in us deserve to be granted access.

On the other hand, anyone who doesn’t appreciate our presence needs to experience our absence, immediately.

The VIP section is an asshat-free zone. Anyone who wants to get a spot in the VIP section has to earn the right to be here from now on.

For the people who are already in the VIP section, let’s make the next toast in honor of us living the most epic lives possible, starting today.

My treat.

Hanging out this past weekend with one of my favorite VIPs (my identical twin brother, Doyin) for our birthday party in Las Vegas!

Your Turn

Are you cautious about who you let into the VIP Section of your life? Have you ever allowed anyone into your inner circle who didn’t deserve the right to be there? As always, don’t hesitate to jump into the comment section below and make your voice heard!

26 thoughts on “The VIP Section”

  1. Hi Shola , this is a particularly important post as I am going through something which will require me to shorten my VIP list significantly. Thanks for the positive words and the inspiration and I want you to know this helps me to be strong enough to cut those people out that don’t belong in my VIP Circle

    • Right on, Kristin! Cleaning up (or “cleaning out”, depending on how you look at it) your VIP Circle is such important exercise, and it’s something that way too many people ignore. You are very welcome, and I’m thrilled to hear that this post helped to give you the strength to do the right thing!

  2. Just got your email about this post…I think you are the one in the white shirt…it’s hard to figure out though lol. One of my closest girlfriends ( she is in the VIP section of my life) Bday is on Nov 2nd too!! This same girlfriend…we both swear we were twins in another life…our life journey is so similar and currently you’ve guessed it we bounce positivity off of one another almost daily…The universe is so interesting.
    I strive daily to be positive and I’ve had to have a few conversations with people letting them know what I’m not okay with having in my space (negativity) sure a few people got offended, oh well, it is my space and I have every right to allow in it what I want. It’s so amazing how “heavenly” and peaceful life becomes when you take great care of yourself.
    Nice analogy in this post Shola 🙂

    • It sounds like you have a high-quality person in your VIP section, PhillyL! Doesn’t it make life so much more enjoyable to have someone close to you who just gets you? It truly is a beautiful thing. Please tell her that I said Happy Birthday, and that I will be celebrating this Sunday too!

      P.S. Nice guess on the twin thing, by the way 😉

  3. You already know this is my favorite Shola! It’s so, so important to make sure those front row people are the right ones. It can seriously be the difference maker if you’re feeling bad/sad/miserable. You need to make sure you choose the ones who will lift you up! Have a great week!

    • Spring, I already knew before I posted it that you would love this topic ;). As we both know, there’s no better way to stay positive, sane, and happy than to have the right people in your inner circle. It was a lesson that took me a long time to learn, but I’m so happy that I’ve figured it out now!

  4. Happy 40th and also you’re the one that’s looking at the camera. I can only say that it’s true. Keeping negative people out of your inner circle is essential no holds barred, however you have people that go under the radar somehow and just sway you from your dreams and aspirations because they come in a different guise. But once you find these people, and you will, the energy you cull back is phenomenal. Obviously I’m in the midst of this process. Great post!!!

    • Thanks Oyenu! Yes, protecting your inner circle from people who bring negativity and drama into your life is one of the most important life-affirming actions that you can do for yourself. Since you’re currently in the process of making this happen now, I’m sure that you’ll agree, right? Keep up the great work!

      P.S. The “great work” reference had nothing to do with your twin guess…nice try, though 😉

  5. Hi Shola, and Happy Birthday to you and your twin! I believe you are the twin sitting in the back? Thank you for this post, it’s a subject I have had to learn about. My upbringing was the type that often turns a one into a distrustful, hostile person. I consciously fought that urge; I always felt like “they” would “win” if I let them turn me into a meanie. So, I went the opposite direction, but had no idea of proper boundaries. I was like a puppy, letting anyone in if they gave me a pat on the head. Needless to say, I have learned the hard way how to be more cautious in that regard. No regrets, I’m glad I dove in and started from scratch. I sure have learned to guard my VIP section, and I have learned to keep the right people close to me, and everyone else in the nosebleed seats, or outside. I just read a great quote from Shakespeare on another site, “Love all, trust a few, strive to do harm to none.” Perfectly sums it up! Have a great week, and I hope I picked the right twin! =-)

    • Donna, I hear you! I think that the only way that people can learn the importance of guarding our VIP sections, is to experience the pain of letting the wrong person (or people) in. Thankfully, I’ve smartened up and have exiled some people to the nosebleed seats too. My inner circle is pretty tight, and access isn’t granted freely. Just like your brilliant Shakespeare quote, everyone in the stadium (aka, my life) is going to get love from me. But the extra special access to my deepest and most private hopes, dreams, and fears is reserved for my VIPs only. By the way, nice job with your twin guess!

  6. Happy 40th birthday Shola, I never knew you had a twin brother O.O, but I believe your are the one closer to the camera. Great article as always, keep spreading positivity around as the world in needs of it 🙂

    • Thanks Tareq! I promise that I’ll keep spreading positivity for as long as I can–thanks so much for being here!

      P.S. I’m the one in the bow tie in the back 😉

  7. Shola, this blog post was brilliant! I really enjoyed it and found myself nodding my head, agreeing with everything you said today. I’m sharing it with my writer friends now. Thank you. Stay positive and keep sharing your fantastic energy with us. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Lori! It’s always a beautiful thing when like-minded people get together, isn’t it? I really appreciate you sharing this with your writer friends and it’s an honor to share my energy with wonderful people like you.

  8. Shola,

    You are so right! I can’t tell you how many times my trust has been betrayed. I soon realized the only people worthy of the inner circle are my sisters (5) and my significant other – that’s it. They are the only ones in my entire life that have never turned their back on me and supported me even when I’ve made really bad decisions. There is nothing worse than opening up and having someone you trusted turn on you – talk behind your back and even disparage you to others. Those experiences are the most devasting to your soul. I’ve eliminated that negativity.
    Peace to you (I think you are the one closest to the camera). Happy birthday!

    • I feel you Kat–it’s a brutal feeling to have your trust betrayed, and I’ve been there many times too. That’s the main reason why I’m so discerning about who I let into my inner circle these days. The challenge for for me is that I sometimes guard my VIP section so fiercely that it can become tough for other exceptional people gain access. Overall, I’m an extremely trusting guy and I have a lot of people in my life who I’m close with…but even with that said, I keep my innermost circle very tight, just like you. So far, so good. By the way, you came thisclose to getting your twin guess right 😉

  9. Normally I do not comment on your blogs, I normally just read and try my best to apply your wisdom to my life. However, here I am commenting and I am doing so, because first I would like to say, Happy Early Birthday to all three of us, because like Doyin and yourself, my is also on November the 2nd! And lastly, I wanted to ask, how do you apply this particular piece of wisdom to a person, who is there for you when you need them, however in the same breath they are tearing you down? Because, this is a situation that I’ve been going through all my life and I honestly do not know how to handle this particular person. I know this person is very important to me, but at the same time, this same person is causing me so much inner turmoil that I when I see them, I just try my best not to speak, because I do not want to say the wrong thing and give them another reason to tear me down. But like I stated earlier, I know that if I am ever in trouble, this person may fuss, but they are quickly there to my rescue. So I guess my question is, how would you handle a person that is in your life daily like this?

    • Happy early birthday, Latavia! Based on the description that you gave me, there is no way that I would ever allow a person like that into my VIP section. I’m not saying that you have to kick this person completely out of your life (based on your description though, I would consider it), but allowing this person inside the innermost circle of your life is just a recipe for disaster. Anyone who is causing your consistent inner turmoil when you see them is not what I would consider a VIP–and I don’t care how many times this person has come to your rescue. Basically, it comes down to this: does this person bring more pain or more joy into your life? If the answer is pain, then I would suggest giving yourself an early birthday present by distancing yourself and finding real friends who will lift you up, not tear you down. Most importantly, have a great birthday tomorrow!

  10. Happy belated birthday what a great photo .
    Oh yes I was feeling sorry for myself thinking I had no friends or close family because I’ve let way too many into the VIP status.and realised way too late that they were sucking me dry .Christmas is approaching I’m not off out on any night’s out or high on the card list but I do have a life of sanity knowing that the people I have around me my partner and children are the ones who are worth investing time and affection they are all that matters.So On Monday morning at 8am I’ll be galloping down the road Miranda style with my 7 year old knowing that she happy with her silly mummy.

  11. Hey Shola this blog is super awesome, I really needed to hear this since I was going through something awful, I thank God I read your blog, awesome stuff.

  12. Shola, thank you!!!
    Question, what would it be like if all the negative people in the world only had themselves to talk to?

  13. Wow shola I stumbled on your blog by chance (or was it?) and what I’ve read so far is so timely in my life right now,this is real positivity not what passes off as denial ,I recently got sick of positive thinking and looking for inspiration it was basically ignore what’s right in front of you and create a false reality to make yourself momentarily happy then the reality of your situation would eventually break the facade you’ve created for yourself!
    Keep up the good work

  14. You are best, Shola
    You are so far from me, but you just made me feel so good about myself.
    I have been also dealing with some haters, now I understand the perspective and suddenly I feel so light.
    Thank you I appreciate your work,keep doing what you are doing.


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Hi! I am Shola

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Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.

Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...

I uncovered a power within myself

...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.

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