This blog post is inspired by the fabulous poem of Mark Nepo titled "Breaking Surface". I believe it is such a strong call to action for all of us to stop playing small. To be brave and bold and to take those courageous steps into the unknown, where the magic lies.
Breaking Surface by Mark Nepo
Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won't let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can't be done.
Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.
You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.
— Mark Nepo
You're not the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if trainers, facilitators and speakers stopped regurgitating this old rhetoric in an effort to sell you on their latest 'you need this in your life' program.
In a world that is increasingly diverse and far-reaching when it comes to our connections, this quote attributed to Jim Rohn is in need of a rethink. It may have been true in its time, however it's also time to bring it into the 21st Century. I believe it's a very one-dimensional approach and doesn't take into account anyone who is a leader or influencer. Or, for that matter, the now increasingly global nature of our personal connectedness.
In addition, the audiences of today are much more aware, and more alert to hyperbole and fear-based marketing than ever before. Selling me on my perceived inadequacies because I don't have the 'right' people around me, is not going to cut it.
Be intentional about your connections
As an entrepreneur, I spend a lot of my working time on my own and have become very intentional about my connections, networking and 'coffee time'. I choose to hang out with some people because they make me laugh, others invite me into a deeper sense of possibility through their unique capacity of asking just the right question. Still others are speaking, theatre or movie buddies - connected through shared passions.
And with all of these people (and there are a lot more than five) there is an underlying theme that connects us all. A theme of shared values.
Circle of Five
I'd like to suggest that rather than the 5 people, why not take a look at the 5 values that you want to spend the most time with and, by association, the people, the places, the programs and the lasting relationships will be built on the foundation of those connected values.
Values such as authenticity, integrity, empathy, creativity and compassion. They are my top values. What I call my "Circle of Five". They inform my leadership, my communication and my ability to be a catalyst for change. Being a multi-creative introvert, I love to spend time on my own, so these values keep me aligned with my being, and inspire my connection and contribution to the world.
Congruency creates consonance
I believe that it's not the people you hang out with that impacts you or your success, it's the VALUES you live by that creates consonance* (from the latin 'consonare': sounding together). When we are congruent, when we express and live our values, we create a harmonic frequency that draws to us the people, opportunities, experiences, environments and learnings that will make the biggest contribution to our lives.
I invite you to pay attention to your personal circle of influence - your "Circle of Five". Are they consonant with you and your vision? Are they in harmonic alignment with your authentic purpose? Do they inspire you to greater? And do the people you invite into your life demonstrate consonance with those values? And if not, maybe it's time to make room for those that do.
What's your "Circle of Five"? I'd love you to share in the comments below.