“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don't see it yourself.”
Ive had occasion recently to really think about this as I decided to take some time out between contracts and really focus on some personal projects around finishing off a children’s book, writing more, and focusing on people who are important to me; family and friends.
Ive observed that a number of people around me, professionally and personally, seem to be in some sort of challenging period or crisis at the moment. 2015 was bad for many, I certainly went through the mill that year and had to regather, pick up and rebuild after a very destructive period in my life. Then 2016 seemed worse still for some, and this year the flux and transition continues but also seems something beyond just a few people having a bit of a time of it!
Maybe its related to our age group, late 30s and 40s, our stage in life or perhaps as some people believe - aligned to stars, universal energies and Mayan calendars and the like. There certainly seems to be more divorce, family bereavement, illness and family pressures at this age, as you would expect, and possibly what Im observing is just part of lifes’ flow.
Whichever answer it is Im surrounded by people who are near and dear to me and we are all propping each other up. The give-and-take of natural strong friendships; there is a push sometimes, a pull others, energy giving and energy drawing. The key though is that we keep this in balance, and on top of that we also need to keep a handful of positive and supportive people around us. Having people who believe in you, even when you can’t see it yourself, or having those who help you reopen your eyes and see things from a fresh vantage point, or possibly something just as simple as being there to talk to about some concern or troubling part of your day, over a glass of wine.
Jim Rohn famously said that "you are the average of the 5 closest people to you in life". For periods of time in my life I have had both negative and positive influences, and even on occasion some where I thought they were supporters; cheerleaders! In fact were really only there to use and take what they could from me, or assert their ideas and their agendas. Spotting these people can be tough, but you can usually tell by simple little pointers like how you feel when you aren’t with them - relieved or more relaxed, versus feeling buoyed up, or worst of the lot, exhausted.
Ive had the pleasure of working with, spending time with and being supported by some very inspiring people. People with big ideas, big hearts and big dreams, all striving for something more, better or striving for something more fulfilling. They work hard, they keep chipping away. And they all have something in common- they don’t quit. However all these people have at one time or another failed or had a dip, whether it be missing an opportunity in front of them, felt bogged down by other external circumstances in their lives, or simply just got worn out and slumped a little. Its at times like these that we need to step in as cheerleader to bouy them up. Its a two way street - if not only us to them, then its allowing those we respect and care about to do the same for us. Its about people building you up, holding a space and being there no matter what is happening - the good and bad times, and NOT knocking you down or picking or being mean.
There is no denying the job markets are tougher, financial stresses have increased, families, children, parents and illness, life seems faster and faster, time seems shorter and we can get so clouded by all the little things that drag us down.
Part of my overall focus is always to try and identify the balance in life…….when there is something bad or pulling me back, I find the person, event or event that balances that. Dr John Demartini one of the mentors I follow, speaks a lot on this topic and shows very dynamically that even when we feel something is negative or painful, there is always positivity and love creating balance elsewhere in your life. Its just a matter of spotting that. And that is why we need cheerleaders - to point this stuff out to us. We need people to pick us up, and also to be honest and carry the weight occasionally during tough times. As hard as it is to do, leaning in to people is the brave thing to do. Pride should not hold us back. We need people with similar souls and spirits. We need likemindedness. Having shared values and interests are just a starting point, but what is key is that there is an equal balance of give and take. We all have bad days and good days. We all wobble over a personal situation, we all mess up at things. There is not a person I know who doesn’t. Its not human not to. The thing is though that if you continually surround yourself with naysayers, pessimists and people without dreams vision or purpose, you too will become like them. You will be filled by apathy and boredom and a general life malaise.
Think about the 5 you spend time with:-
How do you feel with them and after you have spent time with them?
Have you had an equal measure of give and take, support and guidance?
Are you happy and buoyed, or sad and flat or tired out?
Do you feel ground down by pessimism, criticism and negativity or uplifted by someones belief in you, or their own confidence?
Of course being pragmatic about people and their circumstances is pretty fundamental too, you don’t just dump a long- lasting and wonderful friend because they are going through the grinder at the moment, there is great fulfilment in helping people through tough times and being there to hold the space, as a constant and reliable go-to! No matter how tough things are, they will come through it and they will bounce back, and it will come back in other ways to you.
So? Is it a time for a bit of a spring clean with those who you are choosing to spend time with right now? Do you need to prune back some of the relationships you have? Maybe you need a business mentor or a coach?
The bottom line is that sometimes others perspective of our lives and our realities can be a true insight in to our situations, our belief structures and who we are and what we are capable of. What does your average look like? Are you surrounded with positive, supportive and passionate people, or naysayers and pessimists, or both? Maybe its time to stop and take a look.
Ive got a tribe of incredible people that Im blessed to have in my life.
Who are your cheerleaders?