It was a star filled night. The crack of a fire, the sound of water hitting the shore and the cool night air set the perfect tone. Slowly as the day turned to night, I watched the group of friends assemble around the campfire. It was the first night of the long weekend. You could hear the laughter and joy as stories were shared.
This ritual repeated itself each night. The opportunity to relive the adventures of the day and talk about big dreams fueled the conversation. It was as if the group was writing another chapter in their adventure book together. It made me smile because my son was part of this adventure.
Their relationships and rituals were building a strong bond. A bond I knew would last a lifetime. It was a special gift and it made me wonder where they were going next? You see, being intentional about who is in your circle is critical to who you become.
I love the quote from Jim Rohn,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
The people you interact with influence your outlook, attitude, approach as well as the subject matter you engage in. So taking time to be intentional is critically important. Who and where you spend time influences the person you eventually become. Bottom-line, it can either elevate you or bring you down.
And funny how we can easily see this issue for our kids (and their friends) but not always for ourselves. Choosing who we connect with shapes our future (just as it does for our kids). For me, it was about clearly identifying my ideal self and taking time to describe the qualities I wanted to be used when someone described me. I think about these qualities as my trademark…the how I show up and what I give back.
Then I made a list of the 5 people I spent the most time with. I took time to identify their trademark qualities and how I felt when I was with them. Did they help make me better? Did they match who I wanted to become? Did they elevate me? Or did they bring me down from achieving my ideal self?
I looked beyond this group of 5 to see if there were others that had the qualities I had written down. This broader list contained people who had achieved amazing goals, career success that matched my vision of the future and people that I thought did an awesome job of looking at things from a different perspective.
I knew this perspective would be important to keep me on my game and sharpen my thinking. In some cases, I had actual names on the list and in others, it described the qualities of the person or group and no names. I went one step further and looked at the magazines, blogs, books and sources of information, input and inspiration that I relied on and asked the same questions.
This work made it possible to make changes in my life – my life as an individual, as a wife and a mother. It felt odd at first, but overtime the results became obvious. The interactions pushed me to set higher goals, be more positive and proactive, take accountability for my choices, dream bigger, try new things and be more curious. My relationships with people remained, but my time was focused with those that made me better. By being intentional in who I spent time with, it allowed me to accelerate my progress to becoming my best.
This is a reflective time of the year. As we enjoy our family and friends, I challenge you to do the not very “sexy” work of looking at who is making you better or bringing you down. I look forward to hearing how you think about your 5 and what new insights you have after reflecting on the questions.