Thursday, March 12, 2020

Surround Yourself by Shawn Randleman

Every day we're surrounded by both positive and negative people. Every person we come in contact with, even if we don’t realize their effect on us, has an impact. What’s interesting is we don’t truly see an individual’s influence on our lives until they do something to get our attention--good or bad. Think about it - in every relationship we start, both parties believe in something good about the other person. This belief is often at work with our perceptions of our friends and family, but, when it comes to building success, we MUST forge great connections! So, what’s the secret to developing a lifelong relationship that helps you grow? In this month’s installment, I want to reflect on this wisdom: “Surround Yourself with Greatness.”

WORK

As a rising leader in your career or organization, it’s essential for you to surround yourself with great people--not just good people! The biggest mistake most professionals and entrepreneurs make is wasting time building relationships with the wrong types of people for their journey. Work is a place you create CONNECTIONS, not relationships! Over the years, I’ve noticed we've blended the lines and this may have a significant cost. Loss of productivity, lower revenue, high turnover, and workplace inequality are all likely consequences of not understanding the key distinction between a connection versus a relationship.

Focusing on developing CONNECTIONS is essential to professional success. Many of the inequalities we face as humans in work or life occur because we don’t first seek connection. Naturally, we want to build relationships in all areas of our lives, including at work. But, relationships are predicated on attraction and emotions. A connection is different; it sees no biases. No matter our race, gender, or other external differences, we all have something to offer the world and each other. We must learn how to CONNECT to each individual's purpose around us! How? Be open to the way the people around you think. Seek common interests in work-oriented goals. Spend time discovering ways to improve your communication skills.

LIFE

No matter where in the world we’re from, we are all born into a community. Even orphans have a circle of humans who shape their environment and early experiences. The hardest part of discovering our TRUE tribe is seeing how our history (i.e., early childhood and adolescent life) plays out in our present decisions. During our first 18 years of life, we aren’t given free choice regarding who surrounds us. We are forced to develop our circle(s) of influence in the environments given to us. These initial environments shape the way we connect and build relationships.

Fortunately, in most countries, at 18 years old, we have the opportunity to choose the environment in which we WANT to grow. The unfortunate truth, however, is that most people never make a move. They attempt to surround themselves with greatness, but, they choose the wrong types based on who was in their environment during their formidable years. Believe it or not, the advice you get from most people is not bad advice! It’s just the wrong type of guidance for your growth. You MUST find your circle of personal influence and surround yourself with it for life.

BALANCE

Focus at work, and in life, on building connections BEFORE relationships to have a balanced, successful environment. If the people you hang out with now are not elevating you to greatness,  you must let them go to succeed. As my mother would say, "You show me your friend's son, and I will show you your future!” As a child, I stated, "No mom, I make my own choices! They don't make them for me!" I’ve realized the majority of the good or bad decisions I've made throughout the years, influence at some level was based on the environment and my "friends." Even though our choice is our own, the people around us and our environments govern our responses.

Letting some people go does not have to mean disappearing altogether--or “ghosting” as the kids say. Rather, gradually reducing the time you spend with anyone who slows your pace towards greatness is strongly recommended. Spending more time with new people of influence, increasing your circle, and creating an environment of growth, is vital to your success. I explain this further in "Surround Yourself." 

Please take a few moments, listen to my thoughts, and let me know what you think in the comments!