October 17, 2018
I remember at the start of junior high school when my mom all of a sudden switched me from regular classes to AP classes. She later shared that she believed I could do well in those classes and would likely be surrounded by students who really appreciated learning and getting an education. She wanted me to be surrounded with a circle of influence and give me my best chance. I later saw a pattern in myself when I would make friends with people who were better than me, or would be a good influence on me, or would be the type of person I wanted to be.
Typically I was drawn to friends a few years older who were more mature, and maybe had life figured out a little more, maybe we had more in common, or maybe they just knew more in general. I needed that environment. If all my friends were studying for a big test, I would be more likely to study too. Call it the good kind of peer pressure and I wanted in!
I think the most significant test was during my college years. I am sure most of us can say the same….you are away from home and without parental supervision and left to your own devices. I wanted to experiment but I also wanted to be a successful graduate one day. That first year, I think I was guilty of making friends with the type of people that were not what I would have called a good circle of influence, but more rebellious. I was friends with everyone and loved everyone. I explored all sorts of personalities and adventures. With each new semester I explored a new group of friends, and each new year and new apartment living situation brought new friends.
I got to the point where I needed to re-calibrate and be more selective in my circle. I needed to balance out the “live in the moment” persona and start thinking about life after college and career goals. That was a tough bridge to cross. I got wise and decided to surround myself with people I trusted. I knew that if I ran into something too rough, they would take care of me and help me find my way. I clung to these people for as long as I could and I owe a lot to them. I chose relationships that would make me want to make better choices and decided to beautify my circle of influence. I maybe missed the timing on that one because unfortunately I don’t have more than a handful of good friends from my college days. No regrets here, but lesson learned.
And today, in my world of career mom/wife and adulting, I find myself always working to beautify my circle even more as part of my continuous improvement plan, always growing and learning. I strategically and deliberately decided to marry my wonderful husband who has a practical side and a spontaneous side, has a brilliantly balanced work/life ethic, and lets me witness his wisdom everyday. He is the better disciplinarian and incorporates fun and learning into everything and I adore how he fathers our two children. As for my friends, there are so many types of relationships I hold close to my heart, all that fulfill different areas of my personal and professional development. I look to surround myself with people who have goals and a successful life, but I also want to know people who toggle through life’s responsibilities and roll with the punches in the most positive light. We have all been derailed with life events, some more traumatic than others, but how do we process them and how do we get back on course. Don’t dwell of the downside, digest it at a healthy pace and move on to the next chapter armed with more info in this book of life. I firmly believe that having a strong circle of influence and network of supportive friends is critical to staying the course.
When I jumped into network marketing, clueless, I immediately felt support and love. With that came a melting pot of personalities that tested your coping skills. How did I choose to navigate everyday challenges of dealing with borderline toxic personalities? I applauded myself when I made the decision to join my networking group because it would open up a world of possibilities and personalities and I could pick and choose who I wanted to surround myself with and how I wanted to spend my time, like a grown up!
I put up boundaries to protect my posture and add to my circle of influence to strengthen my direction. I want to have a support system in my friends, I want to have adventure and spontaneity, I want to be surrounded by people who would cheer me on, I want to be immersed in people who believe in me, and I will have no choice but to believe in myself as well. And I want to love who I am!!!! As Jim Rohn says,
You’re the Average of the Five People You Spend the Most Time With.
Some would argue it's how you let all walks of life influence you and grow you, throughout your lifetime, definitely more than I can count. Who are you, who do you want to be, how are you going to get there, and who are you going to let into your circle of influence? How are you going to beautify your circle of influence?