There is an old adage that goes something like this, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”
I recall my grandmother saying something similar to that years ago. It was usually met with the ole’ side-eyes because it sounded judgmental. I simply didn’t understand the depth of that truth at that time.
Jim Rohn also said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Interesting concept. Perhaps even a bit scary when you think about the people who surround you the most.
The Influence of Our Support System
Your support system is paramount. There’s a decent amount of research that shows having friends is important to our mental well-being but you also need the right type of friendships.
Take a solid look at your network. Who do you spend the most time with and how do they make you feel? Will they help you achieve your goals? Because achieving success is much easier when you are surrounded by the right people.
Friendship is fascinating. Some friendship is formed by happenstance. You can meet someone and you “click.” Other friendship is formed early in our life and we manage to stay connected. But what doesn’t stay the same is our goals. They change as we evolve and grow. It can often be a stark realization that the friends we grew to know and trust may not understand our new path or journey.
If you’ve ever gone to a high school reunion, you know just how true that rings. That realization doesn’t have to stop you from being friends but spending a lot of time with people who don’t get excited about your success doesn’t help you grow or help you promote your success.
We can choose to place ourselves in environments that are positive. We can choose to surround ourselves with people who are on a similar journey. If your friends aren’t a similar path as you are on, can you continue your essential growth?
How Do Your Friends Make You Feel?
When you are with them, are you invigorated and do you feel inspired? Or, do they suck the life right out of you and turn every positive emotion into something negative?
Our friends provide us with a certain comfort level. Nothing wrong with that. That's one of the great things about friendship but do they continue to push you and challenge your thoughts? Do they help you stretch your comfort zone?
If everyone in your network is afraid to step a toe in uncharted waters because they cling tightly to their comfort zone, how likely are they to push you to break your self-imposed barriers?
Characteristics of Friends
What attributes do your friends have? The people you spend the most time with should:
- Make you a better person
- Support you
- Push you to meet your goals
- Inspire you
- Help you transform
Do you have friends that have these characteristics and traits?
Dreamers: Sometimes dreamers can be seen as unrealistic or undisciplined but they can also be insightful visionaries. They think of things that others do not. Dreamers can bring spark to your life. They help you imagine “what if.” You feel life’s vitality when you are around them. Dreamers have a strong tendency to be highly creative and they make you believe that everything is possible.
Drivers: The driver brings the dream to reality. They understand the big picture but have the talent to break it down into steps and action points. They are results-oriented and can do a lot in a short amount of time. They are usually decisive, direct, and pragmatic. They know how to carry out a plan. They thrive on the thrill of the challenge. Drivers are practical folks who focus on getting results.
Motivators: This is your voice of inspiration. They keep pushing you to meet your goals. They help you understand that goals are met more frequently when they are tied to a “higher purpose.” This person infuses you with energy and enthusiasm.
Supporters: This is the true friend. This is the person with whom you can let your guard down. It’s your comfort zone. It’s your safe haven. Just remember that you still have to stretch but comfort is not all that bad at times. This person will be there as you journey through life and they will journey with you. They are excited when you realize success and support you in time of need.
The Devil’s Advocate: This person is the critical thinker. They ask questions and lots of them. They see problems before they arise. This person is crucial because you need their perspective. They won’t sugarcoat it. They’re blunt but try to look out for you. They are often the voice of reason and you may not always like what they have to say.
To sum it up:
- A Dreamer will help you dream it.
- A Driver will help you turn dreams into reality.
- A Motivator will inspire you every step of the way.
- A Supporter will never leave your side, through good and bad times.
- A Devil’s Advocate cuts through the BS and tells you the real deal.
Be persistent with surrounding yourself with those who bring out the best in you. Be relentless in having a network who constantly challenges you as much as you challenge yourself.
Remarkable people beget remarkable people. Success begets success.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]