I’ve learned two ways to help you improve your circle of influence and I want to share them with you today. So, we’ve talked about the importance of intentionally forming your circle of influence, but let’s go further and get practical on HOW to do that. Remember the concept that “you are the sum of your five closest friends“? Really smart people came up with that concept, and I’m shamelessly stealing it. This thought means that if you hang out with people ten steps ahead of you in finances, you will likely learn things from them that will bring you up to their level. Same goes for healthy living, faith, and relationships. The inverse is also true, though. I don’t care how immune to influence you think you are, what you expose yourself to will change you. Good or bad. When you’re making efforts to improve, the road ahead involves mindfully choosing how you spend your time with friends and family. Let’s talk about attracting the right people to your circle and how to behave when the not-so-good influences are people you can’t just walk away from.
I want to surround myself with good people who push me to improve, how do I ACTUALLY do that?
The process of shedding the people who drain you, who bring you down, or do not make you a better person can be a very painful process. What if it’s your best friend from high school? Is it one of your parents? What if it’s your spouse? How on earth are you supposed to surround yourself with the right kind of people if you are forced to be around the ones that bring you down? You can try to change them, but good luck with that. You would embark on a journey that will leave everyone feeling belittled, resentful, and unloved. After all, unconditional love is not possible if you are loving someone because of who they will become instead of who they are. This goes for you single people too, I haven’t forgotten about you. One of the biggest challenges to improvement is when you are trying to move forward, but the people around you are holding you back. You’ve got the urge to fall back into old patterns, and your buddies will probably not appreciate you shining a light on the flaws they have shared with you. So what do you do to cut through this?
First: increase the time spent with a POSITIVE influence.
A simple example of this; if you spend the majority of your time filling a bucket, it will become more full. If you spend more time draining it, then yup – it gets empty. I want you to genuinely believe that every interaction you have with people either improves you or drags you down. The simplest way to put this into practice is to increase the amount of time you spend with those people who push you to learn something new, try something you’ve been afraid to try, or get you to simply WANT to become better. If you are stuck with someone who is emptying your bucket, then you absolutely need to have MORE people filling your bucket. The automatic side effect of increasing time spent with winners, is that there is less time available for the less-than-winners.
Second: become the friend you want to have.
I saw a poster that said: “What’s the best vitamin for having good friends? B1!” I know it’s cheesy, but I absolutely love this! The concept is simple: you want reliable friends you can count on? Then BE a reliable friend people can count on. If you are a gossip, then the people who you attract will most likely be the same – so be mindful of your behavior. Here’s a scenario: if I’m talking to someone who decides to badmouth someone else behind their backs, do you think I will trust that person to not talk about me in the same way as soon as I leave? Nope. So I’d better watch my own words and actions so that I can attract the kind of people who I want to be around. This also comes back to the first point. If what’s holding you back is the result of the influence you are surrounding yourself with, then you need to remove that influence so that you can start to become the friend you want to have.
The people I want around me are honest, reliable, loyal, and willing to call me out if I’m messing up. I will do everything I can to become those exact things and more. This might seem lofty, and it is, but it’s doable. It is a lifelong journey that I am on, but I’m ok with that because it guarantees that I will not be surrounded by average (or negative) influences. To become extraordinary, I need to surround myself with extraordinary people. I will always be open to meeting good people, I will always want a mentor, and I hope that I will add value to everyone around me in the same way I seek value.
Let’s end average circles of influence. Let’s end average together.
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