Who you surround yourself with MATTERS. Surrounding yourself with the right people impacts your life and business so much. And when it comes time to make those tough calls about removing someone from your life, you should absolutely keep this in mind.
Who You Surround Yourself with MATTERS
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You’ve heard the quote…
“You are the five people you hang out with most.” (I think Jim Rohn said that). AKA, who you surround yourself with matters because YOU will become those people.
Surrounding yourself with the right people is so important. You need to surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals, support your beliefs, and are the kind of people who you want to be.
Sometimes, picking those 5 people for your journey can be really hard – and it might mean you have to make hard calls or decisions. And it’s even more difficult when you’re just starting something new or when you’re young, because picking those five people can happen without you realizing it.
Here’s a story from my start as a web designer
When I was just getting started with web design, I was in a Christian blogger Facebook group (because I assumed I could be a massive blogger, ha). Another member of the group was a web designer, and I really looked up to her and aspired to be her.
So I was teaching myself web design so that I could create my own website, and as I taught myself, I also began offering it as a service. I was 24 and this was my first foray into entrepreneurship.
When I started offering web design as a service, this girl who I had really looked up to was mean to me and bullied me. She went on to even have other people help her bully me, and it became VERY toxic for me to be part of this group. Anytime someone would tag me as a web designer, her minions would go in, tag her and say something mean about me.
That was really terrible – but it also unintentionally gave me the mindset that everyone who did what I did was mean or bad. So I decided that was true and that I wouldn’t be friends with anyone who did what I did. That is NOT my natural instinct at all, but it felt like it had to be.
About six months in, another web designer in the group reached out to me, complimented my work, and told me she would love to refer people to me when they got busy. She showed me what community over competition looked like, even though I didn’t know that phrase at the time.
That just shows how quickly hanging out with the wrong people can influence you.
A few weeks ago when I’m recording this, someone my sister went to high school with died of a drug overdose – it is a very, very sad situation.
As we were talking about this, we started talking about weed/pot/marijuana. There are people who think pot is a gateway drug and people who don’t. My sister said she doesn’t think mariujana is a gateway drug by definition, but she DOES think that it can get you around the wrong people. Why? Because in North Carolina, pot is illegal. So if you want to get some, you have to get it from someone who is willing to sell illegal drugs. And if they’re selling pot, it’s likely that they would be selling harder drugs, too. Hanging out with that person a lot will probably influence you, too.
There are some situations where you can’t help the people who you are around most. Maybe you have a toxic family member or you work in a corporate situation where the people are toxic. You can be around people who are doing things that you don’t want to and overcome it, but you HAVE to be self-aware enough to see what’s happening and recognize if it does affect you.
My corporate career is a great example of this
I worked in a toxic atmosphere. There were a ton of women in the office together, and most of them had the mindset that they were out for themselves entirely. Some of them because they wanted to move up in the company, and some of them were just catty and would pretend to like you but talk bad about you behind your back.
I am NOT that type of person. If I don’t like you… then you’ll know it, because I do not have the capability to pretend.
All that to say – sometimes you don’t have a choice about the five people you’re around most. But if you can be aware of what they are doing that you don’t want to do, that’s a great first step at avoiding it. And if you can somehow remove them altogether, that’s an even better protection for yourself.
Who you surround yourself with MATTERS. Surrounding yourself with good people who you look up to will protect your sanity, help you be the person you want to be, help lead to your success, and SO much more.
Some people are more susceptible to following the crowd. If you know that you’re one of those people, then you need to be extra aware of that.
(I am NOT one of those people… peer pressure was never a problem for me. But I know there are people like that, so I wanted to include that.)
If your natural instinct is to be a people pleaser and you end up doing things even if you don’t want to, you’ve GOT to be more aware of who you surround yourself with.
Who you surround yourself with MATTERS in your business, too
If you surround your business with people who see everything as a cutthroat competition to take others down, you’re going to become that person. Instead, if you surround yourself with people who are all “community over competition,” you’re going to become that person.
Looking to grow your business and keep on achieving? Surrounding yourself with people who lack that ambition means you’ll become that person.
It can be hard to make decisions about who to give those 5 seats in the car to – but you don’t have to be MEAN to exclude someone from those seats. You can distance yourself kindly and politely, and make sure your inner circle are people who you look up to and aspire to be like.
I’ve had to make some tough decisions recently in this arena. But because I know that who I surround myself with matters and that people who drain my energy aren't good for me, I know that I HAVE to do that hard part to succeed.
These 5 people include the people you follow online
People who you follow on Instagram can have JUST as much influence as someone in your physical life, if you’re spending a lot of time with them. The advice you choose to follow on podcasts, YouTube videos, or elsewhere can do the same thing.
You have to be super conscious of these decisions. Whoever you choose to listen to is who you’re going to become. The things you choose to listen to are going to be the ideas that you adopt.
You need the self-awareness to understand when someone or something is not good for your mental health. It honestly takes a lot of time and doing things with people until you realize who/what is/isn’t good for you. Realizing who you surround yourself with matters will help you evaluate your social media accounts.
It can be a hard thing to walk away from relationships that don’t fall into this category… but I can almost always promise you that it’s worth it.
Boundaries come into play in a big way here
I DO NOT mean to cut people out of your life with hedge clippers. There are certain people who will stick around in your life regardless. But in those instances, you HAVE to make your boundaries known.
Listen to this if you don't hear anything else. You can set boundaries all you want, but if you don’t ENFORCE them, then they disappear.
I’ll be totally candid with you right here. Being an employer versus being a friend to someone are two totally different things. Watching people blur that boundary can be tough. Thankfully Laura is great and hasn’t done this at all, and I consider her a friend and an employee. But with this retail space, I’ve had to set some strict boundaries from an employer perspective.
I knew from the beginning that I needed to go into it with my guard up. This is a small town, after all. When I opened the store, I had an all-vendor meeting and made it clear that we had a 0 strike rule for any kind of drama.
So I had to set those boundaries, and unfortunately I’ve had to enforce them with some people. It sucks, but it’s MY sanity, my business and my life – so that’s the way it is.
You don’t have to cut people out, but once you become aware of where those boundaries need to be… you need to set them and stick to them.
This is your permission to pay attention to your 5 people. Cut people who are harmful to you. And SET BOUNDARIES!
Take stock of who you’re spending time with in life and online. Be aware of the traits that they may be passing onto you. Then, take time to see which traits you do and don’t want to emulate. Make those choices about who to remove, set boundaries with, or keep next to you.
I think we ALL went through this during the 2020 election. No matter who you align yourself with, there was a point when we were consuming SO MUCH STUFF that it became unsustainable. I know that I went through a time where I had to unfollow so many voices on social media (even people who I agree with) because it overwhelmed me and wasn’t serving me.
That “turning off” situation online can (and probably should) happen in real life, too.
There will be people who are offended by your boundaries – and they can go away.
If you have a friend who constantly pushes some kind of boundary with you, you have every right to put down your foot and say no. You don’t have to be mean, but you can let them know that you need to protect your own sanity, because who you surround yourself with matters.
Maybe you’re a people pleaser and there’s a certain friend of yours who constantly takes advantage of your niceness and always wants you to watch their kid. So they ask, and that first time was totally fine… but then they continue to ask you and ask you and it’s weighing on you. You have EVERY right to go to that person and tell them that you cannot keep doing that. And you’ll probably hurt their feelings or upset them. But that’s okay, because you have to protect your own sanity.
Here’s the funniest example I can give you:
I love Gilmore Girls, as you know. This happened when the new season of Gilmore Girls came out a few years ago. I told my husband that I just wanted six hours on the day after Thanksgiving to watch the entire show. So I blocked those hours off in my mind.
Well, my husband's mother decided that that particular day was going to be the day that we process two pigs (I live on a farm). She was off of work, and she knew other people would be too, so she picked it.
She told us that everybody had to be there at a certain time to help process the pigs. I told her no, because I was going to watch Gilmore Girls and that I would help with the pigs when I was done.
It made her SO MAD. But I didn’t care, because I had already set that time aside to make myself happy. There were going to be plenty of people there to help process the pigs – they didn’t need me for a little bit.
That’s a silly example, but I didn’t apologize for that because it was my time. Obviously if there was an emergency or someone really needed me, I would have changed my plans. But it wasn’t an emergency, so I prioritized my own happiness.
All that to say – who you surround yourself with MATTERS
Set those boundaries, take stock of who you’re spending time with, and let yourself THRIVE.