No one is better equipped to take care of you or take more responsibility for your actions than you are. You are the person most responsible for the direction that your life will take. It is too easy to let yourself believe that whatever is happening in your life has very little to do with you and is more a result of what others are doing or not doing. You have the power to choose the attitude with which you will live your life and the behavior you will demonstrate.
So, the question is, how do you make sure you don’t stray from that path of self-awareness and personal accountability? The answer is simple. You surround yourself with good people.
There are just as many people who believe that it is a sign of weakness to seek other people’s help and guidance, as there are who think that their lack of fulfillment is somebody else’s fault and none of these people are correct in their thinking.
Human beings are social creatures. You are not meant to live as a loner. You were born into a family. Together, we live in neighborhoods and communities. We go to school together and we go to work together. Why then, would you try to go it alone in order to achieve success in your life?
Every single success story involves an entire network of people who joined together for a common cause and even those who are recognized as the leaders of that particular cause or event became leaders with the support they received from others every step of the way.
Every one of you is a sum total of your own life experiences. How you perceive yourself is due, in part, to how you have chosen to act and react to the happenings in your life. Additionally, you have undoubtedly experienced difficult times, turmoil, and controversy. Without good people around you to remind you that you can achieve your goals despite these occurrences, it is too easy to succumb to these negative influences.
Surrounding yourself with good people will not only help you to absorb the blows that life inevitably deals you, it will also help you to grow as a person at a more rapid rate. Experiencing something new is one of the joys of life, but it can also be quite intimidating if you don’t have someone to talk to who has already experienced something similar. New parents can learn a lot from their parents. New employees can learn a lot from veteran employees. A younger brother can learn from an older brother.
When something great happens, it is always more meaningful when you have people to share it with. Their excitement for you only serves to deepen and enhance your experience. When something bad happens, it is easier to get over it with the help of others. During sad or difficult times, it always helps to be reminded of good things and good people.
Achieving individual success has its benefits, but achieving team success is so much more rewarding because so many more things and people had to come together in order to achieve that success.
It is one thing to understand this concept and agree with it, but you may have already discovered that finding good, successful people isn’t always the easiest thing to do. The trick, then, is to develop skills that help you to identify these people. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that I have learned along the way.
If you are fortunate to have a loving and caring family around you and/or a select group of trusted friends, start with them. Nobody will know you better or be in a better position to support you. Talk to them about how they have gone about building relationships with their own friends and family. Reflect on your own experiences so that you can draw out the reasons you feel a closeness or an admiration for certain people in your life. If you can zero in on the specific traits that you respect in others, you will be better able to look for those same traits when you meet new people going forward.
If you are typically someone who has not made it a point to collaborate with others or to seek out other options or opinions when you are making a decision, choose a subject matter that you are comfortable in discussing with a person or people and start a dialog. All of you are capable of helping others whether you realize it or not and most of you appreciate being asked about your opinion so you may receive some valuable ideas from people you never counted on as confidants.
From there, try to broaden your horizons by attending events where you will meet new people. One of the ways that you can ensure you grow as a person is to create new experiences for yourself, particularly ones that you can learn from or develop into additional opportunities. Networking is not easy for most people so seek out an event where you are likely to have a common interest with other attendees, such as a local meeting of alumni from the college you attended.
Getting involved in a neighborhood or community project is another great way to meet people in an environment where you will be more likely to gain insight into someone’s character. Project oriented work also creates an opportunity to share opinions and ideas with others, which will help you to gain valuable insight into people’s decision-making process.
Don’t assign too high of an importance to individuals who have only achieved material success. This is not to say that you won’t find strong mentors amongst people who have achieved fame and fortune, but the skills that many of these people have developed in order to achieve this type of success are self-serving.
You will have a much better chance of finding people that will be more likely and willing to help you if you first identify your own goals and then specifically seek out people who have achieved success in related areas.
Don’t just concentrate on the title or status held by someone. It is much more important to find people who have truly experienced life and learned from their experiences along the way. Many times, there is a direct correlation between a person’s status and their accomplishments, but focus first on the person’s accomplishments if you want to increase your chances of meeting someone with whom you will benefit from knowing.
Even if you think of yourself as a social, outgoing person, chances are there are some things that you could do to improve the breadth and depth of your personal network and your efforts to be collaborative for the purpose of expanding your ability to achieve goals and live a fuller life.
However you do it, make sure that you make it a point to surround yourself with good people whenever and wherever possible. Whatever effort you put forth will be rewarded many times over in the value you will receive.
This article is part of Scott Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.