A former boss told me, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so be really selective.” I often think about this.
Where you choose to invest your time and who you invest your time with is tremendously important. If you spend your time with a complainer who is never happy, it’s going to rub off on your own state of mind. It may even affect your ability to complete your goals, as you’ll find yourself joining in with the chorus of complaints. Instead of wasting time with negativity, it’s better to invest your time with people who are making things happen. These are people who are trying to make a difference. When you surround yourself with positive, productive people, you can’t help but become a part of what they are accomplishing. Thus, the decisions we make everyday—where we spend our time and who we spend our time with—are vital to our own success.
This brings to mind Chloe Vance, a woman who I’ve had the pleasure to meet and know through her not-for-profit group called, Connected in Motion.
Chloe is someone I want to spend a lot of time with; she makes conscious life choices to be positive and productive while living with diabetes.
Chloe’s organization connects people who have Type I or insulin-dependent diabetes with sports, recreation, and healthy living. Chloe inspires me and others with her positive approach to life. She shares her personal experiences living with diabetes, enabling her to make a true connection to other people who are also living with diabetes. Her determination to make the world a better place and her commitment to living well with diabetes is infectious to those around her.
The connections people make with each other through organizations like Chloe’s are tremendous. It’s kind of like going to a party and instantly connecting with someone whom you’ve just met but s/he happens to be from your hometown, or you share something in common. You instantly click and have a great time talking, feeling completely comfortable with each other, as if you didn’t just meet but instead have known each other for years. Times that feeling by a hundred and you would know what it’s like to connect to other people who choose to live well with diabetes; the connection is really that strong.
Words alone do not articulate and convey the uniqueness of this community. Here is a video clip to watch, to get a taste of what it’s like to surround yourself with great people who share common experiences.
In my case, it was a weekend in January of playing sports and sharing time with new friends who have diabetes. You can hear the passion and see the special community with your own eyes in this video clip. The people in the organization truly make the experience wonderful.
Here are three lessons I learned (and they really apply to everyone):
We are the average of the five people we spend our time with. Be very selective. Look at your life and what you want for yourself, and then figure out who are the people who will have a positive influence and the ability to inspire you. These will be the people with whom you will want to spend your time.
Your physical environment matters. It is important to change your environment from time to time. If you stay in the same place, it is hard to change your thinking and go beyond the parameters of where you currently reside in your life. New environments introduce new ways of thinking.
I’m lucky enough that I get to travel a lot for my work. Being on the road for my work and changing environments so frequently enables me to constantly shift my way of thinking. I get out of my comfort zone and encounter new experiences that have an impact on the way I look at things. You do not have to travel or even spend money to experience a new physical environment. In fact, it could be as simple as going on a walk, working in the library instead of your usual office, going to the park, or anywhere that is different from your ordinary work place. In other words, a simple change of scenery can be powerful.
Action is essential. Everyone can talk about their great ideas, but talk is cheap. Having the ability to act is what will make you successful. You need to move toward your goal and what you want. This requires you to also carefully choose the people you want to surround yourself with, because these people will have an impact on your ability to act. Pick up the phone, send that e-mail, do whatever you need to do to make something happen.
THE KEY IS TO ACT.