Today, I’m sharing with you my favorite thing (in my opinion, the one thing) that you need if you’re looking to uplevel your life, your business, or any area of your life. Spoiler alert: it’s all about the people that you surround yourself with. Don’t miss my tips for finding the supportive community you need, as well as why it’s so imperative that you find one.
The biggest gamechanger for me in the last couple years, both in terms of my life and in terms of my business, has been the people that I surround myself with. When we think about the basis for most friendships, if you're anything like me, those relationships were probably formed at school or at work. Because those are the things that we have in common, it is easy for the habit to form of talking about those things, and more often than not that means talking negatively or complaining. I'm definitely guilty of this! Whether that was going out after work with my fellow teachers or hanging out with my friends during my school years, we often connected by finding things to complain about -- we had the same frustrations, so why wouldn't we do that?
When I started working for myself, I realized that I needed to find some friends who were in the same position. (There's only so much shop talk you can do with your partner or your parent before you realize that they are just being nice and definitely don't have an opinion about your brand colors or marketing strategy.) I just knew that those friendships would be helpful, but I had no idea that they would directly correlate to a significant uplevel in my life -- but it makes sense! As the saying goes, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so spending time with people who remind you of who you aspire to be is bound to have a positive effect on your life.
But if you're already tuning out because you don't need another friend or you aren't interested in building a business, don't click away! I'm talking to you, too -- we can all benefit from connecting with people who inspire us. The good news for my fellow introverts (or really just anyone who is on this planet in this particularly bizarre time period) is that I'm not just talking about the friends that you hang out with, in person or virtually. Another way to make this shift in your life is to be more conscientious about what you're consuming in terms of books, movies, podcasts, documentaries...all that good stuff! If there is someone that you admire or who inspires you, digging in to their old podcast episodes can be a great way to welcome that influence into your everyday life.
The main priority in this quest, whether it is a quest for friends or for positive media, is to see out what you know will uplift you. Don't look to join a group that is united by being against something -- if you find a group that is all about hating a particular style of music, for example, then definitely run in the other direction! Instead, seek out a group united by a common goal or common values. This could mean joining in a cause together, like a charity organization, or it could be supporting each other on your individual endeavors, like parenting or starting a business. You can even assemble your own group!
In the group, it is important to encourage and support each other. That doesn't mean that you can't share it when something hard is going on -- what are friends for, if not to listen in a time like that? But it does mean not letting the whole group get sucked into a negative spiral. This usually ends with people "competing" to see whose situation or life is worse, and that doesn't make anyone feel better. Instead, listen, offer support if it is wanted, hold space for the person who is struggling, and speak life into them or into the task that they are struggling with.
If you think this all sounds great but don't have the first clue where to begin, I've been there. To start with, grab the low hanging fruit. Find the podcast that you'd like to listen to or book that you'd like to read. When you're ready to connect and build friendships, social media is honestly my favorite place to do just that. I've met all of my inner circle business friends in Facebook groups, courses, or just randomly on Instagram. The important thing is to take action, and don't be afraid to make the first contact or send the first message. Like anything else in life, if you wait for it to fall into your lap, you might be waiting a long time. Make a habit out of connecting with others, and see where that takes you.