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In many of our Leadership Development workshops, I have been asked on numerous occasions,
Is there anything one can do to immediately change their lifestyle or their direction?
I reply individuals dissatisfied with the current course their life is taking do have an option.
So what's the answer?
If you want to immediately elevate yourself and put yourself closer to real success? The answer is simple. Change the people with whom you assocate.
The phase, "Birds of a feather flock together" is not just a saying, it’s a universal law. If you want to elevate your standard of living, than elevate the standard of people with you spend your time.
Here’s the Urban Networker's rule, "Winners hang with winners. Losers hang with losers. The positive hang with the positive and the negative want company." Misery loves company.
I observed this common factor while working with parents with children who exhibited delinquent behaviors. These children usually duplicated their peer group. Truant children associated with other truant youth. Delinquent children associated with other delinquents.
Think about it, if all your child's friends ditch school and smoke marijuana, then your child is more than likely to play hookey and smoke weed. Your child's peer group displays common traits of its members.
Parents have been successful in changing their children behavior by involving them in activities and programs where children practice positive habits. When the child identifies with the group, the child adopts the groups habits.
Adults are no different. We adopt the habits, activities and behaviors of people who we frequent the most. Our actions and even our vocabulary changes to match the people we come into contact daily.
Be careful of the people who you associate. Your circle of influence can be your vehicle for self elevation or the cement shoes that sends you to the bottom of the river.
Misery loves company
In the social work arena, I have worked extensively with drug addicts. One thing I observed that it appeared that many addicts were unhappy when one of their fellow addicts attempted to quit drugs. In fact, they would take every opportunity to cause that person to fail by offering free drugs or using drugs around them. I venture to say that for those individuals to see someone quit using drugs would mean they would have to look at themselves and take responsibility for their actions.
Often in families, we found people we call "enablers." While they profess that they want their son, brother, sister to change, they provide money, food, etc., that allow the person to continue in their destructive behavior.
Are your friends like you?
Think about the people who you associate. How successful are they? Are they supportive of your goals or do they redirect the conversation to themselves when you talk about your achievements? In relationship to your goals are they the people who you would associate with if you achieved your goals.
Do they share your values and believe in the same principles you do? If you are developing a higher spiritual self, then you don’t want to spend a lot of time with people who spiritually corrupt.
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful" Psalm 1;1
If there is an inconsistency in your personal circle, you may need to reevaluate your associations. Don’t get me wrong, I'm not saying you should drop all your lifelong friends who are not on the social economic level you have established as your goal. However, I am saying cultivate the social environment of your goals. When we practice visualizing our goals, we see the people, the places and the environments that we will associate, frequent and live in.
Look in the mirror
Your friends and associates are reflections of yourself. Sometimes you don't have to look in the mirror to see yourself. Just look at your friends and you will see a true representation of who you are. While your friend may not be on the same financial level as yourself, they may have high moral and spiritual values you admire. Look at your friends and associates holistically. Take into consideration, their family, educational, intellectual, spiritual and financial values and attributes.
In a recent workshop with Performance Coach Early Jackson, and CEO of New Directions Coaching, he stated, "According to research, a person one makes within $6,000 dollars of their peer group."
This makes sense especially in the US where we have class systems such lower class, middle class, upper classes, etc. Americans tend to live and associate with individuals in their own income levels.
Finally, if you want to change your social environment, outcomes and opportunities, be selective of the people who you spend your time. Take the following steps
1. Set goals on spending time with individuals who occupy the positions and lifestyle you aspire to
2. Identify the habits and social venue in which you wish to become part of your lifestyle.
3. Visualize the people, places and activities who aspire both once in the morning and at night before your retire.
4. Create vision boards from magazine clippings of your desired lifestyle.
5. Go to places and events where the people who fit the lifestyle you desire frequent.
6. Utilize the urban networking techniques in making contact and establishing mutually benefical relationships.
Write down your personal networking goals. Who do you want in your circle of influence. Who would you want on your success team. Identify the type of people who represent your success model. Look at their personal values in the categories of spirituality, morality, family, education and financial. What values are you reaching for and who can share with you their personal knowledge of how you can achieve them?
Want to learn more about how to develop your own success team? Learn social capital investment strategies and tactics? Come to Community Improvement workshops sponsored by the Coalition and Professional Networking Associates. Lead Facilitator Michael Rice and host of powerful and articulate presentors will help you develop your personal capacity. Contact Gary Adams at 215-387-2734 or Michael Rice 267-303-0653 or online at www.theconnectornetwork.com/urbanleadership