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  • Amy Bull

Who Do You Surround Yourself With?

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating on this lately.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a retreat and participate in some training in North Carolina, back to back. For a full week I was surrounded with people who share common goals, dreams, and belief systems. Every day, all day, we had the opportunity to talk and engage with each other on ideas, strategies, concerns, and struggles.

I went to bed each night feeling motivated, excited, and enthusiastic about what I am doing with my business and my life. I felt supported and buoyed by the energy of the others around me.

Because I was on the road for a decent amount of time as well during this trip, I also had the time to reflect on this dynamic, and how it relates to all aspects of our lives.

Take a moment to think about the last time you were pondering a change in your life. Maybe you were thinking of changing jobs. Maybe you were exploring some changes to your diet. Or perhaps you were struggling in your relationship with your partner and needed advice. Maybe your kid was driving you crazy and you needed a shoulder to lean on.

So you hit up your friend/coworker/partner; whoever your go-to buddy is for advice on the subject. How did that discussion go? Was it helpful? Did you leave feeling supported? Or did you leave questioning yourself, and even less clear than you were before you had the conversation?

Realistically the answer to this is a mixed bag. Some of you probably had a great discussion, while others maybe not so much. Most importantly, if you left feeling unsupported and still questioning, do you have other people in your life you can go to for support?

What I have come to believe strongly is how important it is that we cast a wide net when we are looking to make changes in our lives. I’ve written in previous articles about how difficult it is to make changes; our brains are hard-wired to avoid change, as it triggers our survival mechanisms. It’s scary to go out into the unknown, because it’s impossible to know exactly what the outcome is going to be, and we like predictability. What can sometimes be hard to remember: it’s also scary for the people around us that love us. They want what is best for us, and changes you are proposing to your life might create angst for them too.

So what’s the solution? Gather a wider variety of folks around you beyond family and very close friends. I know that can be a challenge. It might take some creativity, particularly depending on where you live and work, but it can make a tremendous difference in your success. Expecting a small number of relationships to provide you with every element of support you need is likely unfair to that relationship, and can create strain that is unnecessary. To be clear: I am not advocating maintaining a relationship that is toxic to you. If someone in your life continuously makes you feel bad about yourself, your decisions, and makes you feel beaten down, that is a different conversation. But expecting your spouse/partner, parents, or best friend to be able to understand and provide every element of support in your life is unfair, and will likely create immense strain on most relationships. There are times in your life when it can be greatly beneficial to form friendships and connections that are coming from a different perspective than your close friends and family, and be a bit more unbiased while sharing similar goals and dreams. This might even involve in finding some paid-support, depending on what it is you are looking for support in, i.e. a coach or support group that specializes in the area you are looking to make change in. This can be invaluable and worth investing monetarily in.

Who you surround yourself with has many implications in your life, and is a subject I will likely explore further in future articles, but it can be greatly magnified when you are looking to shift behaviors or situations in your life. Be mindful of who you allow in, and seek out people you admire and aspire to emulate. Make room for a variety of people and experiences, and your life will be richer from the diverse relationships and perspectives.

Have a healthy & mindful week!



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