Who Are The People That Make Your Most Important Relationships?

Growing up I was always warned about the relationships I kept. I would hear


The same sentiment was reinforced years later when one of my mentors introduced me to Who’s Holding Your Ladder? by Sam Chand. It helped me to grasp better how my friendships impacted my life as I prepared to be a better leader.

In elementary school, I remember being part of a ‘gang.’ We had a meeting place under a particular staircase in the schoolyard that no one else could use; we kept all the leader’s secrets, and when we shared our daily snacks, she told us what to eat and when to eat. This was my first introduction to peer group influence and leadership training; clearly, I was a follower then, and this was long before I recognized that I had natural born leader tendencies.

We become more like the people we associate with. We are consciously and subconsciously affected by them; our behavior, motivation level, speech, manners, dialect, interests, outlook, are all influenced by those in our immediate environment. If we surround ourselves with negative people, we are less likely to exude positivity and creativity.

One of the things about managing life is appreciating the power of the people holding our ladders. They have a great responsibility in the eventual outcome of our lives. 1. They can either be anchors for us as we climb upward or 2. They can contribute to our eventual demise if their attention to us is not full on.

If you want to create a positive change in your life, you must consider who’s in your immediate circle. You want people that support you no matter, what, you have your back in crisis and who impact different aspects of your personality, influence your values and shape your identity.

Here’s a suggestion if you want to change your circle. Consider asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is the ideal self I would like to become and what are the qualities I want to possess?
  • Who are the five people I know who embody these qualities?
  • Do these people match who I want to become in the future?  
  • Do they elevate me or bring me down?
  • Where do they spend most of their time?
  • Are the people in my circle proactive?
  • Are they community-minded? Are they solely interested in their success or do they also reach out to others?

If the answers to these questions do not fit the model you aspire to for yourself, then it is time to change who you hang around. Robin Sharma once said,

What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.

You are the visionary in your life, and the heights you reach are not determined by your capabilities or how inspiring your vision is. It is controlled by who’s holding your ladder.

Try to be introspective about your relationships, as you improve yourself. If you attract friends who are balanced, motivated, kind and productive, you will be more likely to mimic their behavior. Seek out people who excel at something and don’t be intimidated by someone who is more knowledgeable in areas that you’re not. Choose positive-minded individuals who believe in taking responsibility for their lives; you will be more inclined to grow in a positive direction because their behavior will help stretch you.

Your goal with every relationship should be to learn from other people and help them grow as well. Eventually, you may find that you’re naturally attracted to individuals who have a positive attitude and are motivated to excel at something. You’ll begin emulating their positive behavior without exerting so much effort as they will be your closest connections. Your entire identity will take an 180 shift, and your “personal brand” will become tied to these successful people; the way you perceive yourself is how others perceive you. When you hang out with people who are positive, accountable, inspiring and elevated you too will become positive, accountable, inspiring and elevated.

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