Your Circle of Influence: How does it affect your life?

A very warm greetings to all my readers,

Today’s article is connected to the one I wrote last week, so if you didn’t get the chance to read it, I would suggest you do so now.

I hope you had a chance to respond to last week’s questions as they will help you immensely in your personal growth!

How does our circle of influence affect our life?

We have to acknowledge that some people are born automatically in our lives. Some come through marriages. Geography also plays a role.  Where you work and what you do for a living is a factor.  Even friendships develop through circumstances.  Throughout our lives we end up meeting so many people both personally and professionally. Some people you will only ever know casually while others you will take the time to build relationships with and as a result go on to become trusted allies. It’s those trusted allies you align with that form your ‘Circle of Influence’. Usually those you choose to align with will share common values and similarities or simply compliment your strengths and weaknesses. They will also have no competing interests and represent a synergistic benefit to both parties through an ongoing relationship. Some are negative, others simply neutral and the rest often bless us with enrichment that positively impacts our lives.

So take a moment to think about this question:

Who is already in your circle and who else would you need or like to include?

Before you say you don’t have one … you do! Big or small, everyone has a ‘Circle of Influence’.

Who are the five or ten people you associate with the most?

Check in with your own life. Write their names down and list them under one of the following categories.  Note that depending on the circumstances they might sit in any one of these groups so think about the one that represents them most of the time.

Here the three different categories of people who influence our life:

1. ‘Drainers’ – People who deplete or drain your energy.  They complain, whine, criticise, blame, use sarcasm, condemn, gossip and otherwise focus on the bleaker view of life.  They are pessimistic.  When you spend time with them, you notice the heaviness of their presence, and instantly feel better when you walk away.  These people may be coming to you with their stories and challenges, seeking your support and input. These people aren’t about bringing you joy and happiness, or adding anything but a dark perspective on life.

I personally like to limit my time with people who fall in this category.  However, these people are great mirrors for embracing your shadow or dark side.  While you may consciously choose to limit your time with them, learning to love them unconditionally is often the greater gift with these individuals.

2. ‘Comforters’ – People are likely your friends, peers or possibly family members.  They are a lot like you, and share similar values and interests.  You enjoy being with them, and feel better by being around them.   We all love having people in our lives that bring comfort, acknowledgment, sharing and understanding.

The pitfall or trap to beware of here is the word “comfort”.  This group is likely to keep you anchored to bad habits, disempowering stories and limiting beliefs that may hold you back. Part of how you relate with each other may be through sharing similar problems and challenges.  The relationship may feel less engaging without a challenge to discuss or solve, so problems continue to emerge and cycle. If one of you leaps too far ahead, the relationship may be threatened.  While you may share dreams and goals with each other, there is a tendency to stay “comfortable” with no one moving too far ahead.  Keeping the status quo is the name of the game.

From personal experience I noticed through spending time with this category of people, I became more aware of how to relate and share problems. I realised that I have to focus more on sharing what we desire and appreciate in life.

3. ‘Empowerers’ – These are people who may also be your friends, but there is a distinct difference as their impact challenges you beyond your “comfort zone”.  This group may include mentors, authors, leaders, business associates or those deemed wildly successful.  This group sets the example of what you aspire to emulate.  They may have a life that you admire, respect or are striving for. They are an example of possibility to you.  They inspire, empower, lead and challenge you to grow.  They may believe more in you than you do in yourself, and encourage you to live life to your highest potential.  These people aren’t always the “easiest” to be around because their nature demands the best from you. While challenging, these relationships fulfil the need you have to evolve, which in turn accelerates growth, success and accomplishment Their presence is so potent, that even short time periods are often very influential.

This is the type of people I am surrounded with. Consciously seek out more of these individuals out and spend time with them.  Ask them questionsPay attention to their habits, values, beliefs and state of being.  See yourself as their peer.  Look for ways that you can contribute value to them. Be aware that it will not be easy to be around them as they will stretch you out of your comfort zone in any given time and opportunity. Are you ready for the challenge?

 

Now take a pause for self-reflection and ask yourself the following questions:

How do the people around you play a part in your success?

Do they support and motivate you to succeed? Or is it the opposite?

Are the people around you unsupportive and do not positively contribute to your success at all?

These are all questions that we must ask ourselves from time to time. Our Circle of Influence, the closest people to us, play an important role in our level of success or lack of it. We often assume that if we, as an individual, possess enough drive and motivation that we can achieve anything. Part of this is true, however, having supportive and driven people around you will only increase your chances.

 

Our next step is to write down the 5-10 people you admire, respect and value most.  If your list is short, you may want to commit to expanding your circle of influence and “upgrading” as I did years ago.

It all begins by simply being aware of how people are positively, negatively or neutrally affecting you.  This is enough to allow you to make new conscious choices.

While I’ve continue to expand my associations through the years, I periodically check in with this effective exercise.  I am also quick to notice the Drainers in my life. Through the past years, I am wildly blessed with an abundance of associations and friends that I truly admire and respect.  In recent years, spending time with all of the people I enjoy is the greater challenge.  But wouldn’t that be a problem we would all love to face?

Remember that you should also differentiate your circle of influence into 3 types: friends, associates and role models/mentors. The first, your friends are the ones that are closest to your heart. It should be small and include people I call your flat tire friends, people who will show up in the middle of the night if your tire went down. The second, your associates are people that you know and you spend time with such as co-workers, bosses, friends of friends, etc. The third one is one of the most important as these are the people that inspire and motivate you to success!

I personally took inventory in my own life and wrote down the names of the individuals I was spending the most time with.  Then, I asked the hard question:

“What are the people in my life doing to me?”

Remember, people can only pull you up, down or keep you neutral in your comfort zone. It will not be easy as some people are really close to your heart and you deeply love them. You have to make an objective decision on what category to place them…it will be very difficult but please be honest with yourself as your future could depend on the choices that you are going to make with choosing your circle of influence!

For me back then, I also made a list of 10 people that I would like to spend more time with, and made the conscious decision to do this with individuals I admired, respected and wanted to be most like.  Simultaneously, I limited my time with those who weren’t really adding much to my life and as I mentioned in my previous article, I still give them opportunities to step up the ladder to success if they are willing to do what it takes to discover their potential and talents and to use it to their fullest!

As I have done along with most other successful people, if your desire is to fulfil your greatest potential and live your vision, you have to BE WILLING TO MAKE SOME CHANGES. That will most definitely consist of consciously choosing your circle of influence.

You may experience some discomfort or feel some fear but ultimately you will find you are able to break the cycle of negative influences and boost your own self-confidence!

Be accountable for who you are and what you are doing on a daily basis. If you want to change the course of your life, You have the power and the resources to do so…..and the beginning of that is to change your thoughts …… and choose your circle of influence!

By surrounding myself with people who were more talented than me I was able to achieve bigger and better results. The same is with success in any area of your life. If you continue to surround yourself with people who believe in attaining average results, then that is what you will achieve as well. Look to build friendships with people who think like you do and watch as the results blossom.

Make the decision that TODAY will be the start of your new beginning…for yourself. Stop allowing others to be the reflection of you.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” – this is a famous quote by Reinhold Niebuhr. Hidden within lies an important secret. This is…that we can control our future and our success by consciously choosing and focusing on our circle of influence.

Remember that your circle of influence will either be a means of helping you achieve success or an obstacle holding you back from it. It’s up to you to determine which it will be.

I want to thank my dear bro for allowing me to have some food for thoughts about my circle of influence and to have a better clarity on our relationship! Thank you! :-)

He actually wrote an article on circle of influence a while back, why do you not check it out and see this subject from another perspective? Here the link to my friend’s blog: http://springboardyourself.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/circle-of-influence/

To your consciously wise choice of your circle of influence!

Viv :-)

3 comments on “Your Circle of Influence: How does it affect your life?

  1. Pingback: What are your learning curve from the past months? Part 2 | catalystinspiration

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