The Red Velvet Rope

Have you ever been at one of those big opening night events – where all the important people walk the red carpet on the other side of that red velvet rope?  Well let’s imagine that you have a red velvet rope for your life?  Who are you going to let inside?  What “friends” do you really want to spend your time with?  What relatives do you want to allow inside your red velvet rope?  If you have a business, what customers will you select?

Don’t just think this is being self-centered or egotistical.  If you have no red velvet rope you will find that your life will be taken over by people and activities that may not be in your best interests.  In working with a young lady just recently released from prison, she is seeing that her old friends and hang-outs set her up for the same self-defeating behaviors that led her to prison.  She needs to break those connections, hold her red velvet rope up high and decide who gets in. 

This is just like setting and living by your own goals – if you haven’t identified your goals, I can assure you you’re living out someone else’s goals for your life.  If you don’t have a red velvet rope, you’ll have customers stealing your valuable time, family members who just want to pull you down to their level, friends who don’t embrace your desires for a higher level of success, and activities that waste your highest areas of contribution.

So define who and what you will allow inside your red velvet rope:

  • What kind of people do you enjoy being around? 
  • What goals do they have for their own lives?
  • How are they enriching the lives of other people or making the world a better place?
  • Are they happy, creative and optimistic?
  • What activities do you find energizing and invigorating?
  • What kind of environment brings out your best talents and makes you feel purposeful and fulfilled?
  • Now what people and activities will get past the red velvet rope that protects you?

You might just be amazed at the increase you will see in peace, productivity and profits.

Remember the Aesop fable about The Man, The Boy and The Donkey?  Trying to please everyone is futile.  Even Jesus said Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!  (Luke 6:26)  Use your red velvet rope to weed out the undesirable parts of your life.


Thanks to Mike Estes at for mentioning this concept from Michael Port’s Booked Solid to me at a recent lunch conversation.

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.  Bill Cosby

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5 Responses to “The Red Velvet Rope”

  1. Kathy Says:

    The “velvet rope” is another way of talking about boundaries. Jesus had boundaries, and we should not feel guilty for putting some parameters on who and what our time, money and energies are given to. The flip side of that legitimate concern, it seems to me, is that we can rationalize and justify not giving proper attention and honor to those who might need us a lot more than we need them. Two examples would be our aging parents and the poor and struggling people we meet every day as we come and go. Yes, we need to have some boundaries on our time, money and energies; but let’s not delude ourselves or allow ourselves to become self-centered brats who ignore our families’ (and others’) legitimate needs. We are called to love and serve God and love and serve others. We are not commanded to first ensure others are serving us well or are not hampering our success in any way.

  2. Faith Says:

    I find it confirming that there is a time when one must weed out people, even relatives from your life. Not that one needs to surround oneself with glad handers or yes people. But to step back really listen and replay some of the conversations and how much is encouraging, instructive, and constructive. I did this a couple of years ago, and walked away from people who did not have my best interest at heart. And the peace was amazing.

  3. Chris Says:

    Sometimes you simply have to weed out the people who are creating unnecessary “noise” in your life. “Noise” being distractive or destructive rather than constructive information.

    It’s hard to do. But sometimes you simply have to remove the toxic people from your life.

  4. How to Get Six Pack Fast Says:

    The style of writing is very familiar to me. Did you write guest posts for other bloggers?

  5. Dan Miller Says:

    How to Get — no I have not written for other bloggers. But it’s interesting to see how frequently my writing does appear in other places. Just the nature of the Internet these days.

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