We hear this, or some version of it, all the time…
Surround yourself with people who make you a better person
But how often do we stop and really think about what it means? What is it in someone who makes us a better person? How are we defining “a better person”?
If we can’t be clear on the “better person” we are trying to be, how can we be sure that who we are surrounding ourselves with can help us move towards that goal?
Like all goals, it is comes down to a honest assessment of ourselves – what we are good at, what we need to improve and how do we get there?
So, when was the last time you really did an honest thorough assessment of yourself? I know I wasn’t doing it often enough. Yet, it clearly is something we should be doing regularly. This does not mean long days locked away in a cabin (or beach or wherever makes you happy and calm) somewhere to “get in touch with ourselves”. Although those are nice and occasionally necessary, there are simpler ways to figure out whether we are surrounding ourselves with people who make us better.
It requires taking a good look at yourself and your interactions on a regular basis. Because it is so hard and time seems to fly by so fast, recently I started putting this on my calendar as a regular event every two weeks. I schedule myself a half hour of time to just review the last two weeks.
I ask myself these questions –
- What did I accomplish? What did I not get done?
- Who did I interact with?
- What prompted those interactions?
- How did I feel about the people I interacted with in the last two weeks?
- Who did I want to interact with that I did not get to?
- What lessons have I learned?
- How productive have my interactions been?
- What expectations, of myself and others, did I have that were or were not fulfilled?
This quick review, of a manageable time period, allows me to really focus and get clarity on what I am trying to achieve and whether I have moved closer to those goals. It also allows me to look at the people I have in my life or that I have interacted with and whether they have done one of five things to help me move some aspect of myself to the “better person” I hope to be.
- Did they teach me a lesson? It doesn’t matter what kind of lesson. Personal or professional, something about myself, something the word around me, a professional insight, whatever the lesson might be, just did I learn something from them passing through my life?
- Did they “touch” me? Meaning, was there something about this interaction that touched me emotionally, intellectually, professionally or spiritually.
- Was there something about interacting with them that changed, enhanced or diminished my perception about myself or the world around me?
- Did they inspire me? More importantly, did they inspire me to act?
- Did they just plain make me feel good? Did they make me smile? Did they make me laugh? Did they make me see the joy and light in life?
The pattern that emerges from my responses allows me to not only decide if this is a person, or type of person, that I want more or less of in my life, it also allows me to see the “better person” I strive to be. How I react to and interact with the people that have passed through my world steers me towards the person I want to be, the goals I want to achieve, the impact I want to leave on the world. I see a pattern emerge, based on what I thought or felt about interacting with someone, of what is important or moving to to me.