A few weeks ago, I found myself next to a beginner at yoga. Halfway through the class during our balancing series, this newbie was all over the place. He was wobbling and falling down like a baby who was just learning to walk.
I've been practicing yoga for about six years so normally my balance is pretty good, but once he started wobbling, I found myself doing the same. Once I recognized what was happening, I strengthened my focus on my own practice and my balance improved. I could still see him out of my peripheral vision, but I put up my guard and did my best to look ahead.
Now obviously this is a very menial example, but after that class, I started to think about how the people in our lives affect us. After all, someone I had never spoken to was contagious with instability and caused me to fall.
In his book Screw Work, Let's Play: How to Do What You Love and Get Paid for It, John Williams states that we are a combination of the five people we interact with the most with throughout the week. Whether you believe that idea or not, I'm sure you realize that to some extent, you are the company you keep.
So let's try an experiment: Think about the five people you spend the most time with each week in your own life. Got them?
Maybe they are colleagues at work who aren't really friends but a part of your life at least 40-hours a week or maybe they are your very closest friends or family. No matter who is in your group, consider how each individual has a huge effect on your emotions and even your achievements.
For that reason, it's key to choose (as best you can) who you spend your time with and more importantly, who you allow to infiltrate your mind and heart.
Let's be honest, not everyone in your life has your back. For example, there may be someone who was your best friend growing up, but now you're starting to notice that she's actually holding you back and is always jealous of your achievements. Or maybe you have an ex-boyfriend whose actions make it impossible for you to move on. Or what about the colleague who always belittles your ideas or goals at work? This week, I'm not asking you to go on a de-friending spree on Facebook or cut everyone out of your life, but be honest with yourself about who is truly adding value to you and your purpose.
Are there are people who instantly bring you down a notch when you see them or speak to them, either honestly tell them how they are making you feel or decide to wish them well and cut ties.
(And similar to my yoga story, if you have to be around someone who doesn't give you strength or joy, put up a barrier of sorts to protect yourself when you're in their presence. If you're aware of their influence, it will make it far less powerful.)
And finally, please remember that there are so many amazing people in the world -- there's no need to waste your time or energy on the ones who don't see your value or treat you with love and respect. No one should hold you back from living your dreams or being the best version of you. The world is waiting for you to shine!