We all know the old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. I understand the old cliche, but I believe that “who you are” and “what you do” is much more important than “what you know” or “who you know”. The character of who you are and the actions you take are the ultimate goal of self-improvement. Knowledge and connections, in themselves, don’t guarantee a fundamental change in you or your actions. I like the saying that “you are the average of five people you spend the most time with” much better. The reason I like this better is because it focuses on fundamentally changing who you are for the better and it also means if you can elevate the people around you through your actions, it ultimately will result in a cycle of improvement. You will improve your friends and your friends will improve you, and the cycle repeats continuously. This sounds pretty ideal to me. Having convinced you that elevating your relationships to a higher level is one of the most important factors to success (or at least I convinced myself), what are some ways we can make sure that we can get the right people in place?
I’m obviously a work in progress in this category, but here are a few things I have learned about elevating the level of the people that I spend the most time with:
- Cut out the waste – This is addition by subtraction. If someone you spend a time with brings nothing but negativity to your life, stop wasting time with them. If you want to give them a shot to change, give them an ultimatum. Life’s too short to be weighed down by other people. The person in question doesn’t have to weigh you down through negativity. It could be you fall into bad habits when you’re around them. If all you do is drink or do drugs when you’re around someone, it’s not a healthy relationship. You need to recognize this and move on from that relationship. Build your relationships around your faith, family, and personal goals and you’ll have much more fulfilling relationships, trust me on that one.
- Hold your friends accountable – I mean this in a positive way. I would love all of my friends to ask me how I’m doing on my goals. I would love for all of my readers to ask me how I’m doing on my goals. Naturally I ask people what their goals are all the time for this reason. My goal in doing so is to make sure they’re thinking about it for their own good. If they have better goals, they’ll raise their level and hopefully pull me up with them. The more friends that you have that you can ask about their goals the better off you’ll be, and I think your relationships will develop a much deeper connection.
- Don’t let the good relationships you have go to waste – I just had a conversation with an old friend yesterday and it was embarrassing how long we went without talking, and he’s probably one of the best friends I have for holding me accountable. It’s important not to let the good relationships we have go to waste. Even though we sometimes grow separate ways in our lives physically and mentally, put some time to follow up with the people who motivate you most on your calendar. Literally, set a reminder. If you don’t set a reminder it may not happen like it should, and good friends are too valuable not to take a few moments to make sure that relationship continues. If this post does nothing but inspire you to call an old friend, I’d consider it a success. Do it right after you read, like, and share this. Don’t wait.
- Choose your significant other wisely – This is probably the most important one on the list. I have the best wife for this, because she’s much smarter and more successful than me in almost every way fathomable, so it’s easy for me to say at this point. Naturally you will spend most of your time with your significant other, so it is most important that they can help you achieve your goals and you can help them achieve theirs. Being with someone who is intelligent is important to make sure you have respect for the input they provide. Equally important is someone who doesn’t put down your vision. Again, both parties should be able to help the other out. If it isn’t a two way street it can lead to bitterness and resentment. Make sure you give your partner a chance (many chances in some cases) to be supportive. Nobody is perfect but if you sense a pattern of someone putting down your thoughts and goals, it’s time to get out of that relationship.
- Don’t be afraid to friend up – If you get a chance to talk to someone who you might regard as a level up from you, do it. I’m not the best at this, as I’m naturally not the most outgoing person, but it’s important to have conversations when they present themselves. Also, if you can go to events with other professionals that you can network, do that too. Again, this is probably my biggest weakness, and if you’re naturally an introvert like I am, I recommend start by talking to people in your organization that you deem to be a few levels above you when they present themselves. It’s possible that you will have to take even larger action to overcome the anxiety at first (I’m kind of talking to myself).
- Reach out to people via the internet – Obviously I’m doing this via a blog post, but there are other ways to become friends with people who can motivate you via the internet. There are groups on websites like linkedin and facebook that are focused on specific interests that you can join and network. You can message someone who writes a blog or does a podcast. The whole point of this is that the world is so connected, and if you keep your eyes open, you’d be surprised at who you can get a hold of.
These are just a few tips I put together about developing better relationships that help you and everyone around you grow personally. If you have any tips for me, I’d love to hear them, as I’m always continuously learning and looking for more information to include in my posts.
If you’re looking for someone to ask about your goals on a regular basis, shoot me a message on my facebook page (linked below) and I will get in contact with you and follow up with you regularly to make sure you’re making progress on your objectives.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and remember to be great today!