This is an old saying… But the more people I encounter, the more I find it to be true. Birds of a feather really do flock together. It is critical to have the right people around you. What I’m talking about it your closest friends and associates and even family members that you spend the most time with. This is your “Crew”, your “Homies”, your “Ride or Die” people, your “Cheering Squad”. And I use these terms loosely of course, but this blog post is dedicated to those folks you wouldn’t mind getting through the zombie apocalypse with, or be stranded on a deserted island for a year after a plane crash. Those are your peeps.
I write this post in particular appreciation of those close friends who will call you out on your nonsense, support your crazy ideas and will not be shy about telling you those ideas are crazy, those friends will have your back in the toughest life situations. And these people are crucially important to our success as individuals.
There are many motivational and leadership quotes out there claiming that the road to success is a lonely one, and to extent it is true, because a road to success is built on grit, work ethic, long hours, sleepless nights and lots of coffee* (*I am a bit biased here, haha). But that is exactly when your immediate and closest circle of friends is crucially important. It is critical to surround yourself with quality people. What does “quality” mean in this context? Positivity – people who will see a silver lining or a positive take away even in the worst of the situations. Honesty – people who won’t lie to you because you don’t want to hear the truth, they will tell you if your idea is total crap! Support – They are great sound boards for your brainstorming or a sanity check, they have your back when you’re down, they know how to get you to snap out of the funk or sadness or frustration because they ground you. Improvement – They are better than you at something, maybe it’s math or engineering, or they can cook a hell of a steak that you can’t master yourself. Or maybe they can ger out there and work the room like no other while you quietly observe from the corner. Bottom line is they teach you something and have strengths that are different from your own. They can offer you a fresh perspective because of what they know. Learning – They continue to learn and you teach each other new things over time, whether it’s a new recipe, new book, new random science fact or that goofy new show on Netflix. You teach each other, share experiences, encourage each other’s learning efforts. Empathy – You care, they care. You are capable of understanding where they are coming from and vice versa, they are capable of understanding you even when you are confused about your own feelings and thoughts. Again, they can feel you, empathize, care and ground you when you need it. Value – they have similar values, they make you reflect on your own life and make you want to be a better person, the best version of yourself, they remind you to grow, to push through the obstacles. Giving – these quality people find joy in giving and helping. You want to give to them and help them and find joy in that.
My rule of thumb is to keep people who have positive influence on me, bring joy, happiness, laughter, knowledge, and add value to my life. I’m very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life. And I try to be the source of positivity and value in theirs. What does your immediate circle look like? Do they make you a better person? Are you a quality friend in your circle?