By Pegine Echevarria
When I was standing on the corner in the Bronx years ago I looked around me and saw who I was hanging out with. People named Tex, Rats, Peanuts, and Lefty. I often hung out on a rock in a park with people who scared me. I remember asking myself, “Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
I eventually escaped the neighbourhood and people in my group and went to Spain. There I began to change my life. However, I found myself in an unhealthy relationship and once again I asked, “Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
Later, working for a corporation and hanging out with people after work I saw that they drank a lot and weren’t motivated to move up in the organization. Again, I asked myself, “Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
Years later when I went into business for myself I found myself with other new business owners. Many were negative and in a “victim mode.” Once again I asked myself, “Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
Through the years I’ve changed, grown and transformed. However there has been one steady question that I’ve asked about the people in my life—“Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
Goals are wonderful to have in your life. However, without people you cannot reach your goals. Without people you cannot be a leader, manager or successful in any area of your life. However, you control who influences your life. You control who you allow to inspire or infect you. You decide daily whether you have friends and associates who nurture you, believe in you, and who want more for you than you can imagine for yourself. Daily you get to ask yourself, “Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
I have friends who have a sign in their meeting room that says, “We don’t work with jerks. We work with clients we love.” They are enormously successful. They give TREMENDOUS value and truly treat their clients with “love.” They have “fired” a few clients in their 20 years of business.
I’ve surrounded myself with people who cheer me on and who celebrate who I am. One is Josh Hinds. Josh is the founder of GetMotivation.com and he is wonderful. Josh also questioned himself about the kind of people he wanted in his life. He is so amazing at what he does that he created a life where he is surrounded by some of most positive, supportive people in the world. He surrounds himself with people who empower others as a living but also people that want to be empowered. His newsletter is one of the most read in the world and his site is a treasure trove of power. Josh is one of my cheerleaders. I can count on him for an encouraging word, an electronic hug or pat on the back. Check him out at Getmotivation.com and receive his newsletter. He is one person you want in your life.
Everyone you meet, every person you seek to be part of your network and all the people you dream of associating with should receive a resounding, “YES!” when you ask yourself, “Are these the kind of people I want in my life?”
If you say no, then it is up to you to let them go or, at the very least, set up strong boundaries so they don’t “infect” you with their attitudes, beliefs or destructive energy.
It comes back to you and me, we are responsible for asking the question and then taking action. We, you and I, are the leaders in our lives, work, family and community. It is up to us to ensure that we surround ourselves with people who nurture, teach and support us.
Have pen and paper ready. Set a timer for five minutes. Write the following down: “If I can choose the characteristics of the people I spend time with they would be…” Take five minutes and write about these imaginary people.
Where would they live?
What are their goals?
What kinds of jobs would they have?
What is their financial situation?
Why do you admire them?
What do you hope to learn from them?
Now think of your current friends and associates? Do they meet your dream friends and associates? If not, have the courage to seek, ask for and reach out to people who fit your dream friends and associates.
Challenge yourself and be courageous.
It is hard to change and too often people stay in relationships that aren’t positive because they are afraid to hurt the other person’s feelings. Rarely does a person consider how the relationship is hurting them. When someone thinks, “I can handle it,” “It’s okay,” or “It has been this way for a long time,” they are usually in denial and have given up their power, their purpose, and their dreams for someone else, who may or may not even be thinking of you.
Do you say it is okay when someone continually asks you at the office to get them coffee. Unless it is in your job description, allow them to get the coffee for themselves. Ask yourself, are you being kind or are you feeling like you have no other choice? You always have another choice you know.
At a conference approach the leaders of the organization. Ask them about their speech, their thoughts on a particular subject or how they entered the field. Challenge yourself and be courageous. Most of what we think people are thinking is hogwash! In truth we have no idea what they are thinking. We only know what we think they are thinking and what we are thinking about ourselves. Too often our thoughts sabotage our relationships. Surround yourself with wonderful, supportive information and change yourself.
Called and made a date to see a friend that you really like?
Invited someone you just met and really connected with for coffee or breakfast?
Stopped participating in boring, routine social gatherings that don’t fill you with joy?
Told someone how important they are to you?
Danced a slow dance with someone you love lately?
Thought of the Month:
“People decide who you are by who you associate with.” —Pegine Echevarria, MSW
Magazines describe Pegine as one of the top motivational success and leadership experts with business and team building experience! Her teambuilding and motivational programs are experiential, fun and filled with content. Companies use her to motivate people, develop strong leaders & teams, and increase productivity. For more success, leadership and team building information visit her website at www.pegine.com.