Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time together…naturally. We were each other’s only sibling and considering we went to the same college, we pretty much rocked it out together for 22 solid years. And when you spend that much time with a person, you have to expect some of their habits would rub off on you. And they did.
We were always uber competitive with each other, so anytime he got an A in a class, I made sure to get an A in the class. If he scored 12 points in his basketball game, I tried to score 14 in my next one. Okay, maybe I was just super competitive with him, but either way, his drive and dedication made me driven and dedicated, which is something that has stayed with me throughout my almost but not quite 30 years. And he just got married this past weekend, so I wanted to dedicate this intro to him. So there you go, bro. Enjoy the fame.
We’ve all heard it before, and I’m going to say it again: you are who you hang out with. Call it your crew, your tribe, your squad – whatever it is, it is your sphere of influence. In high school, I cut my hair short because my friends cut their hair short (bad decision). In college I stopped drinking soda because my soccer teammates didn’t drink soda (good decision). It doesn’t matter how major or minor it is – the people you spend a majority of your time with mold your thoughts and actions, which is why it’s so important to make sure they are good ones.
As I’m slowly approaching the end of my 20s (wow, that’s scary), I’ve come to realize that in order to guide your life in a positive direction, you have to have the right people around you – to support you, push you, remind you of what matters. That’s why I’m filling you in on 5 best types of influencers you need to have in your inner circle – these people have helped shaped me into who I am today, and I feel like I’ve turned out to be a fairly decent person. Some people may disagree, but hey, we’re not here to discuss my sainthood.
THE ONES WHO KEEP YOU GROUNDED
We millennials grew up as the generation where everything we did was great/amazing/fantastic…and our egos can sometimes pay for it. While you may accomplish some great things during your time on this earth, to the Big Guy Upstairs you are no better than the guy serving you dinner at your local taco joint. And sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Having someone in your circle who can bring you back to reality is vital in order to keep your compassion and maintain your respect for others. No one likes to be around a snob – and if you’re feeling a little high on your horse, just remember: a little broccoli in the teeth can take anyone down in an instant.
THE ONES WHO NURTURE YOUR FAITH
I realize that not everyone is necessarily a “church” person, and that’s ok; however, having some kind of spiritual aspect to your life is vital to your mental health, whether you believe so or not. There will be times during your life where you go through rough patches and feel very alone, times where you feel life is unfair and unjust. That’s the moment when faith becomes so important – it steps in to reassure you that everything will be alright and that someone is watching over you.
As someone whose faith has gotten them through some very hard times, I sincerely urge you to make sure you have someone there to help you nurture yours. It can easily get pushed to the backburner during our day-to-day lives, and when the world blows up in your face (which it inevitably will at least once during your life), you’re going to want to have that faith to fall back on. And that person by your side to remind you of it.
THE ONES WHO STIR YOUR AMBITION
Shonda Rhimes said it best when she remarked that “dreams do not come true just because you dream them.” If that was the case, I’d be married to Justin Timberlake and starring on Broadway. And please note, I can’t sing or dance. And JT doesn’t want me.
It’s the doers who turn dreams into reality, and while you can get buy for awhile on your own motivation, sometimes that can wane, especially when you feel the pull to meet your friends at a bar when you should be staying in to work on your side hustle’s social media plan (yeah, I’m calling myself out on that one.) That’s why having someone else with the same drive and ambition is so helpful – when you see others making the sacrifices to get to their goals, it makes you want to do the same. And in the end, finding that success you’ve worked so hard for tastes a lot sweeter than all those weekends riddled with hangovers. Because let’s be real, a Saturday spent in bed nursing a headache is never fun.
THE ONES WHO GO TO BAT FOR YOU
I went through a short period a few years ago where my confidence was in the gutter. My self worth had dipped, and the respect I would have shown anyone else I couldn’t even show myself. It was a rough patch, and I felt stuck in a fire I was fueling myself.
However, I was fortunate enough to have people around me who would fight for me. Not in actual fist-to-fist combat (although, they may have done that, too – who knows), but who would go to bat for me when I couldn’t, who would remind me of my worth, and who would stand by my side and defend my decisions and my actions. And you need those people. The ones who won’t ask questions but will show up at your doorstep the moment you hit a crisis. The ones who will always have your back. The ones who will always be in your corner. It can be a pretty rough world to battle on your own, so it’s crucial to have at least one person by your side willing to take up your sword when it gets to heavy for you to hold.
THE ONES WHO HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE
Ever set a goal and let it fall to the wayside EXTREMELY too early? Yeah, me, too. Even when I’m highly motivated to accomplish it, I can let other things seep in through the cracks and send me three steps back. That’s why having someone hold you accountable is key. They will remind you that whatever is distracting you isn’t worth giving up your goal.
The best part is, you don’t even have to actually know the people personally to do this. All of the other personal finance bloggers that I’ve met online through Twitter or Instagram unknowingly keep me in line with my goals, and it’s nice to have that community to fall back on when I’m tempted to buy a new car (even though my works fine) or do a complete closet revamp (which is something I think on a daily basis). Whatever your goals, you need to find that community that you can fall back on, too, whether that be people in your own life or those you maybe meet over the internet.
Even though I may not have convinced you of it yet, you really are highly influenced by the people you spend most of your time with. They are the ones that shape your thoughts and actions, which is why it’s so important to be purposeful with who you choose to be in your tribe. Unfortunately, that may mean cutting some toxic people out of your life. Which sucks. However, people going down in blazing ball of fire will only take you with them, and I’m sorry, but that’s one amusement park ride I do not want to get on. I hope you spend a little time evaluating those closest to you and align them with the person you want to become. Because that person has the potential to be great.
Now it’s your turn: What type of person do you think is important to have in your tribe?