Social Environment and its Impact on…

As I continue my series on personal environment, I want to focus on the social aspects of your environment. You have the ability to choose your friends, but not always your colleagues. When you were in school, you had the ability to connect with so many different people. I did well with my friends through high school but I faltered in my first year of college.

In my first semester, I hung out with a group of individuals who did not have a positive influence on me. Part of it was that I came from a 4-year Catholic school with strict rules and part of it was that I was not really sure of myself. My choices led me to skip two courses for the entire semester except for the first class and the mid-term and final exams.  This behavior put me on academic probation and redefined who I would be in college. I was not ready for an unstructured environment and needed to reevaluate my situation. My circle of friends was not conducive to my success but they did contribute greatly to my near failure. Yes, I do own my actions, but I was following those I was hanging out with without recognizing their negative effect on me.

Many professionals talk about the people they hang out with and the relationships that they are building. No matter how you slice it, you are greatly influenced by those closest to you. They affect your thinking, your self-esteem, and your decisions in life and your career. These people affect your success and your interests as well as many other aspects of your life.

Jim Rohn, a personal development expert, said “ You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and that means everyone in your life counts.“ So who are the five people that you hang out with most? I think it’s important that you take some time to reflect and to understand that they are not necessarily those who are physically near you.  Part of my “five” is someone I listen to on podcasts weekly.

According to Harvard researcher Dr. David McClelland, “the people you consistently socialize with affect as much as 95% of your success or failure in life.” Does this grab your attention? The people you are hanging out with provide the experiences and relationships that will help you grow and move to the next level in your life. You need to be selective in choosing the people who will influence you and your future.  Do you want to actively build your environment to help you move forward in your life and career?

In the end, your goal is to live a successful and healthy life. Surround yourself with those you admire and want to emulate.  You can accelerate your growth and success by spending time with those people who are already who you want to become. Learn from others and picture yourself where they are now.  Act like the person you want to become.

As you think about the different people that you want to connect with, keep in mind one thing that Kathy Ireland, former model and business owner, said.  “Do you surround yourself with anchors or with engines? In life engines propel us forward, believe in us, and support us. Anchors weigh everything down. It’s important to stop and ask if you are surrounding yourself with anchors or with engines?”  It’s your choice – move forward or be stuck.

It is important to think about your closest friends, associates, colleagues, and those that you read and listen to. It is the sum of the five closest people who influence your career and life that could lead to a very successful and happy outcome or to a dark and dreary result. You have the ability to influence and change what happens. Think about your inner circle and see if you need to add or delete people to increase the effectiveness of your inner circle to achieve a higher level of success and happiness.

Your social environment has an enormous impact on your life and success. Review it carefully and revise it periodically if things are not going well.

Reach out to have a conversation with me to get gain clarity and build confidence in your life and career.