Why You Need To Change The Company You Keep

Do you surround yourself with like-minded people? Or do you feel like the odd-man out in your circle as you pursue your goals? Even your loved ones who support you may not always understand or can offer the help you need on your journey. 

The journey to becoming the most effective leader you can be is a beautiful one that requires you to change the company you keep along the way. Being the best leader you can be involves the help of others. 

John Maxwell says personal development thinks in terms of addition. Every skill or mindset is designed to add to your tool box. Leadership development thinks in terms of multiplying. You are no longer just focusing on the self, but on the many. 

In order to pursue your unique path of leadership, you must surround yourself with people of like minds. When I say like minds, I don't mean surround yourself with yes-men or people who think exactly the way you do. I mean people who are aspiring for something similar to you, who have a vision for a greater impact or to see a similar goal. Interact with people who will inspire you to keep going.

The main reason I decided to attend a women in leadership conference is to be surrounded by like minded women. I don't get to interact face to face with senior executive women as often as I would like. A conference designed for executive women is a great place to meet and mingle with people of like minds. 

Why change the company you keep

1. To prove you're not alone.

It is easy to think you are the only one pursuing a goal when you aren't surrounded by like minded people. It is easy to doubt your sanity, question your resolve, or feel out of place. Once you connect with a group of like minded people, who are pursuing their goals and dreams, you feel the freedom of camaraderie and you know you are not alone. 

2. To build your bravery.

When you feel the support of regularly interacting with your group, you give yourself permission to be braver because there is evidence all around you that you can do it. That evidence makes you braver. Peer pressure is a real. We tend to think of peer pressure as a negative, but in truth peer pressure is neutral. It depends on how you use it. So use positive peer pressure (and the bravery that comes with it) to go for your goal. We are always bolder and braver in a group than we are alone. Use that to set bigger, bolder goals for yourself and then be brave enough to go reach them.

3. To learn new ideas/methods.

Think of it like this. You're in a funk because you always cook the same recipe for dinner so you ask a friend for a new recipe. She gives you one she cooks all the time. She's tired of it and most likely gave it to you because it quickly came to her mind. The minute you get her recipe, you are out of the funk. It is brand new to you and you are excited about dinner again. You would have never put the ingredients together that way before. Now you are excited and energized to try a new idea or method. What is old to you is new and fresh for another and vice versa. 

4. To help you when we're down.

Unfortunately we live in a cynical discouraging world. There will always be that person who says, "Why bother? You might as well give up." Sometimes that person is you. No matter who it is, you need the support of others to help you get back on your feet.Troubleshooting isn't just for computers. It is for us. When we surround ourselves with people who are going through or have been through similar experiences, we have a built in trouble shooting network. You can learn how to overcome obstacles before, during, or even after they happen. 

There you have a few reason for changing you company. If you are the one everyone comes to for help or advice, then it's time to expand your network. You can not keep growing if you are the smartest, most driven person you know. A staple of my coaching business is to help my clients realize they don't know what they don't know. Seems trite but this works because the highly motivated women I work with are then determined to either learn what they don't know or find someone who knows what they don't know. They change their company often because they have dreams and goals they want to reach..and so should you! Epictetus said, 
"The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best!"

So I ask you, do you need to change the company you keep?

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