you're the company you keep

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Of all the lessons I learned in the previous few years, this one was probably the hardest and the most important.

They say you take on the qualities of the people five you spend the most time with. And even that the money you make is an average of the five people you spend most of your time with. I don't know where the number five comes from. I guess because it's a nice round number and it all fits on one hand.

The money part smacked me in the face.

When I first read this line in another book, I was spending my time with people who weren’t where I was aiming to be. People who were always complaining about being flat broke, not having money to do anything, whining about the weather, traffic, work, and anything else that they could attach a complaint to.

How in the world do you take your life and business to a higher level when complainers and people who are perfectly content with mediocrity surround you?

Trick question. The answer is that you don't.

This was hard to accept.

The first part of the lesson was in the people I noticed I was spending time with. After a particular evening where someone did nothing but complain and talk about other people, I realized that I wasn’t hanging out with my people.

This was not an easy decision. I had to cut some people away slowly.

Maybe you think this is shallow.

If you’re the smartest/richest/anything-est person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

But when you have a small selection of people to hang out with, you need to choose the best. The people who will lift you up. The people who you think about when you’re vacuuming your living room (true story).

Small talk is painful enough for me as an introvert. Make me talk for an hour about petty drama, and I'm going to want to stab my eyeballs out.

It’s not bad or wrong. It's just not for me. When I was figuring this out for myself, someone said something to me that made it click completely.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

When things don't feel right, you're probably not in the right place.

When you don't feel like you belong and you don't even want to try, not your place.

When you can't even muster up the slightest bit of give a fork, it’s not your circus.

When conversation physically hurts and feels so dull, you have to fight to keep yourself awake and even keep your heart beating—it’s not your place.

If people are taking energy from you when you talk to them, then they're not your people.

There's a name for these people—they're called energy vampires. Don't let these buggers suck your blood.

Survey all the people who are in your life, both online and off. Feel free to separate the two if it feels easier. If you're scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed and feel jealous, insecure, angst, anger or any negative feeling or tenseness in your body, unfollow them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life. No apologies needed.

Same with in the flesh. Are there people you see every day that make you feel just a little more tired, more drained, and empty than before? They're not your people.

My people…

 Photo courtesy of flowermouthphotography.com

Photo courtesy of flowermouthphotography.com

There are so many ways to find your people.

If you don't already have these people in your immediate special circles, they’re probably not all that far away.

The ladies in the photo above, we were all matched up together. In a super-curated mastermind courtesy of Kickass Masterminds. Oh, and no one is paying me or bribing me with wine to say this.

You'll know if you find your people if after you hang out with them, you feel energized, not drained. I know if I'm in good company if after several hours of talking I feel energized, then they're my people.

It's not easy. In a world of small talk and niceties. To take a stand only to have conversations that feel good in your bones are essential.

When you take a stand for what you believe in, it will feel scary. You might feel completely alone. This is okay and entirely normal.

You might want to turn around and go back to where it’s safe. You might want to go back to familiar territory. Where you know all the players and know the game all too well.

Spend your time surrounded by people that make you feel good. And not in a way such as them stroking your ego, but in one where you feel a mutually beneficial relationship. Win-win-win for everyone involved.

At the end of your life, will you say, “I'm happy I played it safe and made everyone happy?”

Or will you strive for more? This is where you’ll find the magic. Without the strive, you're stuck in the same old circus with the same old monkeys.

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