Choose your inner circle with care

    How particular are you about who you have in your inner circle? Are you aware of the influence of those you interact with on a regular basis? Since most of us spend a good deal of time with other people, we should consider the quality of people we spend the most time with.

    Who you spend your time with is as significant as what you spend your time doing.

    Some people drag you down to their level if they play the victim role – complaining and blaming, never taking responsibility for their lot in life. If there are people in your life you’d rather not spend time with because they pull you down, ask yourself why they’re still in your life. Even when family members fall into this group, limit your time with them if at all possible.

    Other people bring you up to their level where they enjoy and celebrate life, playing the role of victor, the one who chooses their lot in life purposefully. These are great people to be around because their enthusiasm for life is contagious. When you’re feeling down, they can lift you up. You can learn how they approach life and handle difficulties with grace. Hang out with them as much as you can. Let them know you appreciate them.

    Time spent with controlling people is wasted time, because they put excessive demands on those around them and are never satisfied. This might be a demanding boss, who rarely praises but often finds fault. It’s a challenge to feel good about yourself and your work in this environment, and it’s certainly difficult to grow when you’re not allowed to think for yourself. Reconsider staying in your job if you are under the thumb of this type of person.

    Some people are stimulating, offering you opportunities for growth and expansion, sharing innovative ideas, acting as mastermind partners, role models, or mentors. Make sure you spend lots of time with these folks. See how you can participate in their lives giving to them as much as they give to you. If you don’t have anyone like this in your life now, consider working with a life coach. They are truly supportive and inspiring to have in your inner circle.

    You can see how important it is to choose your inner circle with care, because everyone you spend time with has their influence on you. How do you improve the quality of the people around you? Here are some suggestions:

    1. Attend lectures and seminars. If you want to be around people who stimulate your mind, you can often find them at lectures or seminars on topics of interest to you. The opportunities presented may lead to new ideas, new business, new knowledge, and new friends.

    2. Take a class. To expand your circle, take a class in something totally different from anything you’ve studied before. Study Italian, learn to cook vegetarian, take up golf, study the stock market. Many of my clients tell me they always meet interesting people when they take a class.

    3. Start or join a group or club. There are clubs for just about any interest you have. If you like reading, start or join a book club. Do you knit, sew, crochet? Do you like board games, public speaking, karaoke? If you go to www.MeetUp.com you can find a group of people in almost any interest area, and you will quickly expand your circle of influence.

    4. Invite someone for a drink. Whether coffee, tea, or wine is your beverage of choice, inviting someone to meet with you for an hour or so, is a good way to get to know someone and see if they are a good fit for your inner circle. Look for people with different perspectives than yours, because it’s one way you can grow. You don’t want everyone you spend time with to be just like you. Variety is definitely the spice of life, and makes for a more diverse inner circle.

    Consultant David Bohl is a life coach who lives in Hartland. Additional information is available at www.slowdownfast.com.

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