There’s an ancient Buddhist story about a bunch of different sized rocks placed into a single bag. Hypothetically speaking, you place your bag of rocks in your pocket and spend the next 100 years walking around with them. When you finally take the rocks out of the bag, they’re no longer the same rocks you put in your pocket 100 years ago. Their varying angles and textures have all smoothed into the same size and shape because they’ve rubbed against each other and smoothed out over time.
The rocks all conformed to the others around them. You didn’t chip away at them with your own hands. Just by being in proximity to one another they became exactly the same.
The same thing happens to people in relationships. I remember when I was a teenager, I spent my time with some interesting characters. When they all decided to have that side-spiked haircut, I found myself slathering my hair with gel in the mirror. When my best friends were wearing those Z Cavaricci MC Hammer pants, I found myself swaggering down the hallway in a pair of my own. I try not to dwell on those truly dark times, but it’s a great reminder that we pick up what the people we’re close to put down.
Maybe you’re now thinking about past friendships or relationships where you woke up one morning and realized “this isn’t who I am,” or in my case, “what the heck is going on with my hair?” Suddenly your best man is wearing a fuzzy robe with a face mask on watching The Bachelor with his girlfriend instead of watching the game with you at the bar. Or maybe your once-angelic son or daughter started hanging out with the wrong crowd and started cutting class and talking back to you. The fact is, that when you spend so much time surrounded by people, good or bad, you start to morph into them.
Right now, you’re conforming yourself to the people you spend the most time with. The key is to be aware of the effect that’s having on your success. In the end, you’ll either sink to their level, stay on their level and never improve, or rise to their level and become better than you were yesterday. You always want to choose peers who drive you to be better than you were yesterday.
So, here are 3 simple ways you can start building a support system that will push you towards the person you want to become:
- Take an honest look at the people in your life right now.
If the expectations and behaviors around your goals aren’t clear, then tension with your peers and loved ones is inevitable. This isn’t a call to leave behind any family, friends or peers who aren’t in your arena, or who don’t have the same ambitions or goals as you. But it does mean that if you feel actively held back by anyone close to you, it’s time to have a tough conversation.
- Get clear on what you want.
Take a few minutes to figure out who you’d like on your support team. Do you want a mentor with experience or a peer who is going through the same challenges? Ask yourself what kind of support you need from your support team. What are your goals?
- Find the people you want in your arena.
This is as easy as making a list. Ask yourself: “Who would I want as a member of my team so that I can achieve success? Are you a member of a social group or networking organization? Is there a colleague or leader at work you could ask for support? You have way more resources available to you than you might realize.
A sales warrior is bombarded by so many adverse situations with prospects on a daily basis that they can’t afford to take friendly fire from the rear. I lean on my peers in the Entrepreneur’s Organization for support, because they’re in the arena, they understand my struggles, and they have my best interests at heart. As a result, I’m continually strengthened. That’s why your support system is a crucial part of the foundation for a warrior mindset.