It is said that you can tell the direction your life is moving by the people you surround yourself with the most.
When my kids were young, I didn’t have a lot of hard-and-fast rules; I did have one though. I had a three-strike rule when friends came to play in our home; that rule was this – if my child’s behavior was adversely impacted by spending time with that child, that child got three strikes until I made the decision to no longer allow him or her in our home and interacting with my child or children.
Fortunately, I only had to enforce this rule once. During the late-elementary school years, my son had a friend who would cause my son – who was already quite a handful – to become even more difficult. I learned quickly that when my son was paired with someone grounded, he grounded; and the inverse was true – if a friend was not well-behaved or disrespectful, he, likewise, would misbehave or act disrespectful. When I let my son know that this friend was not longer welcome in our home or no longer was he going to go to this young man’s house, he was furious with me. He threw all sorts of fits and pushed back. I stood my ground; I did not like how he was impacting my son.
A couple of years later, my son came to me. “Mom, you made the right call about not allowing my friendship with that young man,” he said. “He spends all his time in the Vice Principal’s office; he’s always in trouble now.” Yay. My son saw the wisdom in my decision.
Then, in high school, my son re-connected with this young man. The only time my son got into trouble during this time – and lucky for him it was minimum trouble – was when he re-connected with this young man. Needless to say, after that encounter, my son made the very wise decision no longer to spend time with him.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting one of my older daughter’s friends. This friend of hers happens to work for my company; like my daughter, she is at the top of her game at only 29 years old. All of my older daughter’s friends are like that. My son, who is now 26 years old, is matched well with a sharp and accomplished girlfriend; and I’m happy to say that the majority of his friends and people he spends time with are also accomplished. I can say the very same thing for my younger daughter and the company she keeps.
All of this is to say that I’m proud that my kids have friends who are wise beyond their years with big, generous hearts, professional drives, and engaged lives. They’ve chosen to surround themselves, respectively, with great people who both comfort and challenge them to stay engaged and stretch themselves.
I’m fortunate to say the same for myself and my friends and professional networks. They are love-filled, intelligent, big-hearted, wise, awake, passionate, positive, engaged in life, and fiercely loyal. They challenge me to keep raising my bar and showing up in this world as my best self.
So, here’s my question for you – with whom do you spend the most time?
If you want to move your life in the direction of better, more positive, more challenged in the best way possible – pay attention to the environment you create around yourself and who is there. If someone lights you up, lifts you up, challenges you respectfully, invite and welcome them in more.
If it’s the inverse – if they drag you down, bring out things that are not love and light, peace and energy – it’s time to distance yourself gracefully.
It’s your choice. So, choose your circle wisely, kindly, generously, passionately.
And that’s my not so sexy truth.