Sphere of Influence
In one of our earlier blogs, we touched on the concept of a ‘sphere of influence.’ This is something that everyone has, and it is defined as the “circle of people in your personal and professional network with whom your opinion holds some weight.” In simpler words, it’s the people you have an influence on. Whether we mean to or not, we all have the power to impact the lives of the people around us. And, it’s important to have the awareness that your actions – good and bad – affect others. Afterall, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Whether applied to everyday life, business, or politics, the ‘sphere of influence’ theory is, typically, focused on how any one person affects others. Well, if it’s so important to be mindful of how you affect other people, shouldn’t you be just as cautious about how other people impact you?
“You are who you surround yourself with”
We’re all familiar with that phrase (insert eye roll). It’s probably one of the most common “life lessons” instilled in us by our parents from an early age. But there’s actually truth to it. According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, the people you regularly associate with determine as much as 95 percent of your success in life. Wow – that’s a huge impact! So then, how do you make sure that your “besties” are the best people for you?
You are the average
Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, is often quoted for saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” While that statement makes a strong point, quantifying the qualities of people can get tricky. So instead, if you follow the four guidelines below, you can be sure that you are happy with the person you become, whatever the ‘average’ may be.
Be Intentional With Your Sphere
Make sure the five people closest to you know your goals and that they support your progress towards those goals. If you set a goal to work out three times per week, would your friends encourage you to get moving or give you a hard time for missing out on a date night with them.
To be successful long-term, you need to be intentional with the people you surround yourself with.
Separate Yourself From Negativity
Think about the topics that you discuss with your circle. Are they uplifting or discouraging? Are you making it a point to uplift others, or talk about them behind their backs?Misery loves company. When you surround yourself with negative people, it’s easy to become negative, yourself. You must be intentional with your positivity. Find things to be grateful for. Positivity breeds positivity.
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Are your friends always happy to try new things or embark on new adventures with you, or do they prefer to do the same old thing night after night? Sure, routine is safe and comforting, but stepping outside of your comfort zone is where real growth happens. You want to make sure that you surround yourself with people who will challenge you to grow.
A lot of have that one friend (maybe more) that is not the best influence on you, but you can’t separate yourself from them. Maybe you’ve known them too long or you just have too many of the same connections. If completing shutting someone out will be more complicated than not, or do more harm than good, just be mindful of how much time you allow yourself to spend with them.
Additionally, learn to say “no.” Don’t let yourself fall into the habit of saying “yes” even when it interferes with our own happiness.
Shaping your circle
It is important to occasionally re-evaluate your friendships to ensure that they are healthy and meaningful. And it’s not about figuring out whether someone is a “bad” friend, it’s more about acknowledging that sometimes people’s values shift over time. We all need support, but you must make sure that having friends doesn’t come at the cost of your well-being.
Additionally, having friends who don’t share your values can provide insight into alternative perspectives. There can be a benefit to these relationships if you remain curious and non-judgmental. Just pay attention to how you feel after you spend time with that person. If you feel drained or negative, then limit the amount of time you spend with them. That friend may have to become someone you only share certain parts of your life with.
If you determine that your ‘circle’ needs some reshaping, try reaching out to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, who always makes you laugh and that you always have a good time with. And you can also check out local meet up groups in your area to find some fresh perspective and meet new people.