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Look Around — Are You Surrounded by the Right People?

Group of happy young people sharing conversation
Are you Surrounded by the Right People?

One of the most important decisions we make in life is who we choose to be around. In fact, there is an old proverb that reads, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” Quite often we become like the people we’re around. Based on that, we must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves with because of the short and long-term implications.

Years ago I worked with a lady who needed to hear this information. She hung around a group of actively disengaged employees. She would wait for her break so she could hang around the negative crowd and talk about how bad things were. Do you know people like her? She hung around people who didn’t like their job, their boss, or the company, and she became like them. Do you know people like her? If you hang around people who don’t like their job, you’ll become like them. If you hang around people who don’t care about growing in the company, you won’t grow in the company.

As you work to surround yourself with the right people, consider taking these steps:

Analyze your crew

We lean on our friends a lot. We share our successes and challenges with them. It’s important these people be the ones who support and encourage us. We must find a support system of friends who will support and challenge us. In the fable, Miles and his fellow team members used the Dinner Club as a way of supporting each other. Do an analysis of your circle of friends and see whether they add to your life or take away from it. Surround yourself with people who will help you reach your goals. If you want to be financially successful, surround yourself with those how are financially successful. If you hang out with people who are broke, you’ll never learn how people who aren’t broke live their lives. If you want to improve your relationship with your spouse, surround yourself with people in successful relationships.

Filter out the negativity

We live in a world that surrounds us with negativity. We get it regularly from media outlets because it sells. There is no shortage of it from the people around you every day. Coworkers, bosses, subordinates, friends, family, and strangers on the street will seek you out to share the crud in their lives. While it is my hope that we all will take the time to support people in need when challenges are presented, these are not the situations to which I am referring. I am referring to the people in our lives who drain us of our energy because they thrive on sharing their own negativity. Refuse it. Don’t just walk away from the negativity – run. Get as far away from it as you can. Not only does it impact our perspective with regard to our own lives, it impacts our mental health. While your success can be determined in part by whom you surround yourself with, it can also be determined in part by whom you choose to not surround yourself with.

Dedicate time to the relationships

One of the reasons we dread going back to work on Monday is we don’t feel we’ve spent enough time with the people who matter. Our lives are so busy that sometimes we have to dedicate the time to interact with the people who mean the most to us. If you need schedule time to keep in touch with friends and family, put it on a calendar. Some may say, “But Clint, my calendar is full.” Sometimes we have to make hard choices about what to eliminate in order to dedicate time to the relationships.

If you’re around someone with a cold, there’s a good chance you’ll catch the cold. What are you catching from the people around you? These relationships in your professional and personal life are as important to your job satisfaction as the work itself. Do everything in your power to surround yourself with the right people.

Clint Swindall

© 2019 Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can enhance employee engagement in your organization, please visit, or contact him directly

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