Our goal of this series is to create a culture of connection by forming relationships that elevate your success. In the first blog, Show Me Your Friends, and I’ll Show You Your Future. How to Build Strategic Relationships and Networks, you created a personalized framework of what you need in a networking circle in order to grow. Then you used the framework to identify how you can create a culture of success by forming your circle in the second blog, Outgrowing Your Networking Circle? Do This to Create an Environment for Success. In this final part of my “Show me your circle, I’ll show you your future” series, I will discuss the ongoing review of that circle—the relationship circle: both personally and professionally.
We need to take responsibility for not only keeping the right people in our life but encouraging others to do the same in their lives. We must all keep negativity out at all costs. And if that means walking away? We must walk away.
“Relationships are like everything in life; they ebb and flow and have lifespans.”
Too often, I see people stay in relationships — both professional and personal — that aren’t working because they are afraid to let go. Everything comes to an end, and it is ok. Understanding that concept on a deeper level is very freeing. When a relationship is not working out, it is ok to have it end at this time. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be forever, but for this moment in your life, it’s time to turn the page.
“This is a great time to look around your life with an objective eye and make a note of who brings value and who does not.”
Look, I know closing chapters is not easy; it doesn't need to be a forever thing. I know that feelings can get in the way when relationships are just not working. I have had to make those tough calls to walk away from negative people. And, it’s not easy. To continue to ascend, however, you must regularly take stock, and if that means you need to step away from some people? Then take a step back. This doesn't mean you are now enemies; it simply means that you won’t give energy towards the relationship as much as you once did. Be cordial. Be pleasant.
“We all are evolving at different rates.”
It’s ok if you are evolving at a different pace than someone and moving forward quicker than they are. Who knows? Maybe one day, you will be on the same path again. If not, there’s nothing wrong with being friendly acquaintances.
Now, of course, I’m not saying you can’t have people in your life who aren’t evolving at the same rate you are. I’m saying that you must keep the people in your circle that facilitate your growth and let go of those who aren't. This doesn’t make them a bad person; it just means that you’ve outgrown them. And that's ok.
At this stage of my life, I am around more and more younger people (and I love it!). When it comes to releasing negativity from their lives, it seems they have a bit more of a struggle. I feel younger people sometimes think every relationship is forever. That’s not the case. Every relationship is a reason, a season, or a lifetime. And, again, it’s ok. Those people are just a part of your path. But moving forward, you may head in a different direction. One more time: It’s ok.
“If someone is not interested in helping you grow, you need to question their purpose in your life.”
As I’ve gotten older, I know it is essential for me to lead by example. Being a mentor is very important to me, so I must live by the standards that I set. Managing relationships is a core value for me, both personally and professionally.
For example, too many times, I have seen people stay with certain vendors or service providers that they didn’t like. People have stayed in jobs with a negative boss. Others have kept employees longer than they should. Why do they stay in unhealthy situations? One reason: it is comfortable.
“Cut the cord! Be in the uncomfortable! That’s the only way to ascend.”
One more time: I must lead by example on all of this as I know other people are watching me learn for themselves. Is it hard to end business relationships that aren’t working? Absolutely! Could I even lose money if I do that? Yup. But I need to have faith that money will come back in a more positive environment.
“Remember — comfortable isn’t always healthy. It’s just a pattern you are used to.”
As for me, I can’t be around anyone who has a bad attitude. It’s my kryptonite. I will distance myself from them immediately. I know that can come across as cold. That’s not what it is. I am determined to surround myself with people who share my positive attitude or, hopefully, even stronger than mine. It is self-protection. It’s putting value in myself and my standards. It is imperative to me to be the best person I can be; therefore, I need to surround myself with others who feel the same.
Now, of course, I understand people — including myself — have challenging moments or trip up. That’s being human. It’s whether or not we get back up and head towards the light that makes the difference. This is a very crucial point I love to share with people I mentor, as I realize not everyone readily gets that.
“We need to be around people who have the same energy as we do. If they do not? It’s ok to let them go.”
I don’t pull the plug immediately. I have become more aware of their energy levels consistently. And, most importantly, I am more aware of how it makes *me* feel. Remember, the energy goes through us all. If you are negative around me, it will slow me down. And vice versa. Frankly, I don’t want to feel negative. It’s not who I am. So for my mental health, I must get that negative energy out. If it means I step back from someone, I must do it.
“For my own mental and spiritual health, I can’t have negativity from others. And neither should you.”
Honestly, I do need to remember that most people (not just the younger people I mentor) don’t find that as intuitive as I have my whole life. I admit when I was younger, I was confused that everyone didn’t think the same way. Now I feel it’s a mission to share this view with others.
This is why I love contributing to the lives of others. After all, people are my passion. Understanding what energy to keep in my life is a vital life lesson many people don’t know yet. That’s why I want to give people all I have learned as soon as possible. Why wait?
“Maintaining healthy, positive relationships is the only way to have true success in life– personally and professionally.”
I want to help people see all of this as soon as possible. Remember, to be truly successful at work, you must be truly successful with relationships. It is a direct correlation.
Now, of course, being a mentor has its challenges as well. I will offer advice, but I can only help and assist if they want to be better. It’s the adage: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Until someone wants to change, however, it’s going to be hard to change. It is essential to set boundaries to not go down a rabbit hole with them. For there is another adage: you need to stop going to the dry well for water. Like all relationships, if they want to move forward with you, #LetsGo! If not, it’s time to move forward alone as you tried your best. Again, we are all at different rates of evolution, and it’s ok.
Do everything you can to protect yourself from people who will take you down the wrong path and have you branded as someone you don’t want to be associated with. Be intentional about who you are around; everyone is watching, and your legacy depends on it.
Again, everyone, there are no excuses for *not* reflecting on your life, your circle, your environment right now. It’s time to dig deeper into who you are, where you desire to be, and who you want along for the ride.
“Everything’s for a reason; everything’s for a season.”
Remember that quote my friend Jason said: Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. That quote has stuck with me for over 15 years, and I say it all the time for myself and my kids. It’s so true and is a direct reflection of who I am. Don’t take it lightly.
Take a look around you. If you don’t have the circle you genuinely feel you deserve, or if you are evolving from negative circles, just take your time. Build wisely. Be intentional. Repeat. You deserve only positive energy from this very second on.
Go forth and conquer! #LetsGo!