Jim Rohn once stated “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. There’s a lot of power in these words. The people you surround yourself with form the relationships you build your life from. These people have an incredible impact on your emotions and the habits you fall into. It’s not to say you don’t have (powerful!) agency of your own, but behaviors can be contagious, so why not make sure there are positive influencers in the top 5 people in your circle?
Who should you surround yourself with?
This isn’t to say you should abandon your friends and seek out a new set of friends. But it does mean you should be aware of how those that you surround yourself with impact your life. And keep in mind I’m not talking about just friends, you also surround yourself with family, work acquaintances, fitness friends, parents from your kids sports and school activities, basically anyone that you spend enough time with to know how they think and the energy they bring.
This one goes without saying, you want some Tiggers in your life! You know the type, they bring you energy, they push you to do things that you may not naturally be inclined to do, they stretch you a little bit (and maybe exhaust you at times). You need someone in your life that makes you happy with their positive energy and helps you to enjoy each day by pulling you forward into new experiences.
When you are trying new things or making adjustments to your life, you don’t need people dragging you down. You don’t need someone telling you “oh you always end up giving up” or “you’re a fast starter but you always slow down”. You need people that cheer you on and remind you that what you are doing is awesome and who will be there to celebrate your accomplishments.
If you are trying to exercise more, is it better to encourage someone by celebrating how many days they were active or to focus on how many days they didn’t exercise? CLEARLY celebrating the positive is what anyone would answer here, and yet we get bogged down with our own internal monologue by focusing on where we fell short. What we need is someone to remind us how much we DID accomplish.
This may surprise you but it IS important to surround yourself with not only positive and supportive energy but also people who can challenge you. If everyone around you is giving praise praise praise it loses it’s meaning over time. Critical energy is tricky though. You don’t want someone who is constantly critical, draining and can border on demeaning and demotivating. But the right feedback can launch you towards self-awareness and personal improvement.
Think about when you heard (lovingly) something critical about something you did or said and the reaction that created in you. Again, I’m not talking about ‘cutting’ comments that are intended to bring you down. There’s no place for those and you should push back against people who give them. You should not be shamed into improving.
What I am talking about is constructive criticism that is given truthfully and from a place of warmth. Think about a comment given in this vein. On some level you likely KNOW this truth but for whatever reason you weren’t hitting this bar. But a critical (loving) comment can help elevate you. It helps you recognize you can DO MORE, you can BE MORE, and you have support.
Critical energy can be amazing and bring you to new heights, but you always have to be on guard that it is given and received with love. Like I said, it’s a real tricky energy to capture!
Lastly, when we talk about becoming the average of the people we surround ourselves with, we likely also have people in our lives that drain us. It’s ok, they might not mean to, they likely have issues of their own, but you have to recognize what it does to YOU and YOUR energy as well.
If you have too many (and 1 person very close to you may be too many) Energy Drains in your life, it can sap your own energy. Again, this doesn’t mean go out and scrub all these people out of your life. That’s not possible and likely can create all sorts of other problems. But what it does mean is to BE AWARE who are the positive influences in your life that FEED you energy and who are the ones in your life that are bringing you down.
Real World Meets the Virtual World
As technology has permeated our every waking moment, keep in mind that it’s not just the physical world where people impact you. Your online presence counts as well. The groups you join on Facebook, the messages you read on Twitter… if you don’t keep this positive it’s going to bring you down. However if you search out positive sentiments, uplifting stories, and push yourself towards empathy for people and their situations, odds are this is going to rub off on you as well.
In the same way, if you make some new virtual ‘fitness friends’, you’ll also find that this brings you forward into a new world that will start to change how you think. If you are reading stories about the energy someone gets from a workout, or the pride someone feels from completing a hard routine, you’ll be able to relate your own energy into the shared experience. Search out workout routines you can follow, healthy meals, simple ways to get started moving more.
As you go forward in the coming days, look at those around you. Identify the energy you get from the people in your life. Who are your fitness friends? Who are the Tiggers in your life? Who are the Energy Drains? Who encourages you vs tells you stories about where you fall short? How can you surround yourself with new fitness friends that help you move your health forward?
If you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, make the most of the people you choose to be influences in your life. Life is too short to allow yourself to be told you aren’t good enough to succeed or you don’t deserve it. You are worthy as a person to be loved but you must also have agency in this process and choose who to surround yourself with and understand how deeply they can impact how you view yourself.
As I mentioned early, emotions are ‘contagious‘. This goes for positive and negative ones. Be aware of what you allow to spread into your life. Remember, ultimately these are YOUR choices. This is YOUR agency. YOU get to decide who you surround yourself with and the internal monologue you have in your own head. If you tell yourself ‘you always end up failing’, you’ll likely live up to it.
Be gentle with yourself, be disciplined, and aim to just get 1% better! You can do so much more than you realize, and by surrounding yourself with positive energy, it WILL change your life. And don’t forget, you also need to be someone else’s Tigger!
Who do YOU surround YOURSELF with? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!