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How to Develop Your Circle

Are you surrounding yourself with people who make you better? Everyone talks about how important it is to have a great inner circle, yet we all have had or still may have people in our lives that we consider to be toxic, at worst or complacent, at best. These individuals are not necessarily bad people, but they might zap your energy from time to time. Here are a few tips on how to develop a circle of people who can help support you in your future goals and endeavors.

1. Assess your current relationships. Those closest to you can have a great impact on you whether you notice it or not. The impact could be positive or negative, but I would guess that most people want others in their inner circle who add a positive benefit to their life. So think long and hard about those in your inner circle and those with whom you spend the most time and ask: (1) "how does this person positively contribute to my life?" (2) "how does this person support me in my goals?" and (3) "am I my best self when I am with this person?"

2. Limit interactions with those who drain your energy. If you assessed your current relationships and found that someone in your inner circle drains your energy or is not leading you to be your best self, then you will need to limit your interactions. Notice I said limit interactions versus completely kick them out of your life. Removing someone from your life is easier said than done, so you need to learn more about what you need to be your best self before completely removing someone from your life. As you limit interactions with those who drain your energy and spend more time with those who support you and and help you to be your best self, you will learn more about yourself. You can then use what you learn about yourself to determine if the people who drain your energy need to be completely out of your life. Sometimes people are energy suckers and they do not realize it, and your new found mindset could be the motivation they need to move toward some goals in their life. However, if a person brings more negative than positive to your life, you must make a decision that is best for you.

3. Assess how you treat your friends. Do you feel as though you have people in your life who are acting in ways that are not consistent with where you what to go in life? Do you have people who are acting in ways that are detrimental to their health or their best self? If so, ask yourself whether you are honest with them and if you are the friend that has their best interest at heart. For example, are you the friend that lets them be deceitful or hurtful to others because you find it funny or are you the friend that will remind them that their actions aren't cool? Sometimes, the way we are friends with people can help them to be their best for us and also for them. So, assessing how you treat your friends will help you figure out if you are transparent and honest with your friends about your expectations of them.

4. Connect with like-minded people through professional organizations. If you are a young professional looking to learn and grow in your field, it will be beneficial to make sure you are surrounded by people who have that same mindset. Professional organizations are a great way to meet people who are in your field and who understand you as it relates to career success. Even if their goals are not the same as yours, they can understand your journey to success. This also can be a group of people who keep you on the right track when you aren't feeling motivated in your career. For example, I have met some awesome people through professional organizations that I am glad to call friends and who are also there when I need to chat about my career, current happenings in the field, etc. These people get it and are there to support me in whatever way I need. It's a great feeling to be surrounded by people who genuinely want you to do well and who understand you because they have similar situations or have been through similar situations. It makes a difference to have those people in your corner, so if you have not looked into professional associations, you should do it soon.

5. Reach out to those who inspire you. Every one of us has come across someone who inspires us to be our best self or someone who is #goals. Many times we fear reaching out to these people because we place them on a pedestal. Instead of thinking of those people as untouchable, think of them as the pioneers who paved the way for people coming along. Do not be afraid to reach out to them to hear their story or to get advice on how they accomplished their goals. You might get tips on how to handle defeat, how to handle negative people, or how to stay on track with your personal goals. Who knows, you might even find a new mentor to help you as you move toward your goals.

6. Be intentional about connecting with like-minded people in informal settings. Have you ever been at a gathering, or met someone briefly at an event and thought they were the most amazing person ever even though you only talked to them for less than an hour? Those were good vibes. Typically, those from whom we get good vibes end up having similarities that can build lasting friendships. This may not always be the case, but if you meet someone at a gathering, hit it off and want to get to know more about them, invite them to lunch or coffee. Informal lunch or coffee meetings are great ways to get to know others. For example, I enjoy connecting with others, but not in large crowds. I feel I get to know more about a person when I am able to connect with them one-on-one or in a small group setting. These informal settings help you to find out about hobbies or events others like outside of work. You may find your new shopping buddy or prayer partner, but you wont know if you never have those initial contacts to get to know people better.

So, do you have a supportive circle? If not, I hope you can use these tips to start moving in that direction.

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