Shakeup: Shuffle the deck in your inner circle

When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two brush strokes — one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.

John F. Kennedy

This is uncharted territory. Today, you can make decisions and choices you have never made before, simply because you are faced with moments you have never encountered.

You can answer questions you’ve never heard because you see with a renewed vision and hear with unique ears. Crisis and crunch time have a way of revealing who you really are, along with your values and character.

Today is the day to rise up. Today is the day to make changes. Today is the day to step forward. Today is the day for you to become more you than you were two months ago!

It’s time to shuffle the chairs in your inner circle.

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Jim Rohn.

Just who is in your inner circle? With whom — or with what — are you spending the most time? No, this is not a feel-good exercise, this is a moment of truth that will define the person you become tomorrow.

Who are the most influential people in your life? Scrutinize this list. Nurture and protect those relationships. They become part of your DNA and, thus, define who you are.

Think about it! You know it’s garbage in/garbage out, and you know that you are mainly a product of your environment. Or as Caroline Manzo says: “You hang out with garbage, you begin to smell like trash.”

Makes sense, then, that the people you engage with, the TV programs you watch, the music you listen to, the things you read are going to contribute to your DNA.

So, how do you fix it? It may be a radical exercise, but first things first. Download the one-sheet I’ve provided, and write down the 5 people who most influence you. This may include friends, family members, co-workers, certainly a spouse, partner or boyfriend/girlfriend.

Once you have the list, examine it closely. What kind of influence are these people?

Are the people on your list:

Encouraging you?Tearing you down?
Supporting you?Opposing you at every turn?
Your cheerleader?Constantly an adversary?
An advocate for you?Regularly opposing you?
Your friend?Often not there for you?
Available if you need to call at 2 am?Not available when you need them?

Now, you can’t divorce a spouse over this, and perhaps you can’t change jobs, but you can change the course of the relationships. And you can control the effect of the influence of these people and situations. You can diminish their power and increase the impact of another person on your list.

Yes, it is entirely possible that these relationships are causing you to live in fear, live defeated and live in a rut. And, yes, these relationships can likely impact your emotional and physical health! What are you going to do about it? What can you do about it?

You can remove some of them entirely from your list of influence? Or you can have a frank conversation with them. Or you can limit the impact by limiting the time you spend with them. It’s up to you, but the status quo is not an option. Remember, the status quo is a Latin term that means the “mess we’re in”, according to the old preacher.

But know this: Your original list needs adjustment. If you haven’t made some changes, nothing will change going forward. You will still feel defeated and in fear when you’re around them. Make the hard changes now that you won’t make when the craziness returns to a semblance of normalcy.

Same with the TV programs you watch and the music you listen to. Take a look at them and cull where you need to. Face it, CNN, Fox and Facebook aren’t your best influences. Same for some things on Netflix. If you can’t delete, minimize.

Once you’ve settled on your list, the next step is to make those relationships a priority in your life. Nurture, develop and cultivate them. Take great pains to grow them.

Now, on the flip side of the Top 5 list, here is another piece of critical information to consider. You are on someone else’s list of 5 top influencers.

Jumping back up to the either/or list above, where do you rank with your spouse, friends and co-workers? Are you encouraging and supportive? Are you a cheerleader and an advocate? Are you someone they may call at 2 a.m. if they need a friend? Be the friend you want them to be. Be the support you’re seeking from them.

Bad company corrupts good morals.

1 Corinthians 15:33.

Again, this should not be an exercise you take lightly. It has impacted your past and your present, and it will impact your future. Take the challenge, and change your DNA.

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