A big part of who you are has to do with who you surround with. Your circle of influence has such a profound effect on your identity and the energy that it brings can make or break your journey to success. Ligaya Thompson and Jennifer Hawley take this moment to remind you of the importance of being mindful about the people you surround yourself with and how you interact with them. They talk about the law of averages, having a board of advisors, and staying away from negative people that bring negative energy. Listen to the examples from their personal experience and reflect on how these concepts apply to your life as well.
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Circle Of Influence
In the last episode, we talked to you guys about getting unstuck and how does it feel to be stuck and why. Now, we want to talk about your circle of influence. Your circle of influence is the people who you surround yourself with. We’re going to cover a couple of topics, the rule of averages, having a board of advisors and staying away from negative people who bring that negative energy. To start with the first topic, the rule of averages, there’s a typical rule of thumb that I like to go by. My rule of average is, “You are an average of the five closest people who you surround yourself with daily.” You’re having those conversations with them regularly. You’re engaging with them regularly. You become an average of those five people. Jenny, let’s think about this. What do you think about the five closest people who you can think of and how they influence you on a daily basis?
To be honest, that’s not something that I’ve ever thought about before. That makes a lot of sense, you being able to be the average of the five people with who you spend the most time. I don’t think that’s necessarily true in every case. I think you learn and pick up more from the friends around you than you do in all your life. People come and go from your life, but the people who have been around and who you consistently keep in your life who are a positive force are going to help you be more positive. If you constantly hang out with negative people, then you’re going to find yourself a negative person, too. If you hang out with positive people, then you’re going to be a positive person, too.
Think about even the time the guy who you and I have traveled together and talking about how we’re able to be open. We talked about different things, how our lives are going and how powerful we are being as women and as females. I feel so refreshed when I go home from trips with you. I feel like I want to go out there and get something. I want to go out there and get things done because you’ve been able to affect my life in that way.
If I had to think of like, “Who are the people who I talk to consistently every day,” there’s a variety of people like my husband, of course. He’s my best friend. I talk to him about everything and then there’s you, Jenny. We communicate daily, whether it be our sarcastic texts or the texts about why and what’s going on in our worlds. I have a good friend who I consider like my brother from another mother who I talk to on a regular basis. My sister and my mom are one of those five.
When I think about all those different personalities put together, it comes as a good balance for me because I got people who are very level-headed. I got people who are very spontaneous and who are random. Some of those, like my mom, can be an aggressive person. I’m an aggressive person. I think I got that from my mom. It balances me out because I see you guys as the people who, when I need sound advice, this is who I go to. You guys don’t all say the same things and give me the same advice, but you’ll level me out to where I know if I’m thinking or if I’m being too dramatic about a topic or not.
What do you think about the saying, “You’re a product of your own environment?” That applies to the people, behaviors and different things that you have to interact with on a daily basis. Do you think that plays a part in the circle of influence and the people who you keep within your inner circle?
Yes, absolutely. I’m a very active person. I get up, work out and eat healthily. I’m on the go all the time. I’m taking care of business. I got things to do and places to be, but I need people in my life who have that same kind of energy who are like, “We got to get up. We got to do this. We got to get our things and be in certain places.” If I’m around people who are not that motivated to get things done, they’re not that motivated to get up at 5:00 in the morning for a workout, I’m not saying that works for everybody, but that’s who I am as a person.
Like me and you, sometimes we’ll randomly text each other before dawn and being like, “I got that workout done, girl.” It’s cool to have someone to bounce that off of because it’s like, “I did mine. She did hers. We’re going to go do our thing for the rest of the day.” You’re a product of your own environment because I could think of the situations where I was looking back in my younger life, where I was around people who were full of drama like baby mama drama, boyfriend drama, or whatever drama you wanted to call it.
They were a part of that drama and their drama rubbed off on me. I had invited drama into my life because of that. I invited it into my life because it became a normal thing like, “Everybody goes through this. Everybody feels this way.” The reality is, everybody goes through pain and feels certain ways, but it’s how you handle it. I definitely agree you’re a part of your own environment. What do you think?
Even environmentally or historically, I feel myself not necessarily pushing people away. The group of people who I consider within that inner circle has changed. Even over the years, you meet people and then you decided, “Maybe this isn’t the best person to keep as close to me as they were before. People get replaced.” Find people who are more positive influences on your life. The great thing about having that small inner circle or having that small group of people is your bonds are so much more authentic. We talked on here a lot about authenticity, keeping it 100.
Think about when you’re going through a hard time, who are those people who you want to turn to? Is it everybody and their mom? Probably not. You don’t want to be airing dirty laundry or your drama or what’s going on in your life to a huge group of people. You want to be able to find those people who you can be like, “I’m having a bad day. Can we talk about this?” To be able to lean on those people and help us carry the weight.
There have been petty things. There were times where me and my husband were arguing. I was like, “Jenny, Brian is getting on my nerves right now.” I’ll probably explain to you why he was getting on my nerves and what he did. Either we’re going to laugh it off or we’re going to talk it through and then we move on. There are also people where I can be like, “My husband is getting on my nerves right now.” I give my husband as an example because he’s the one that I’m with every single day. Chances are, at one point in time, he’s going to get on my nerves or vice versa. I’m pretty sure I get on his nerves, too.
There are also people who I can vent to about my relationship like, “My husband is getting on my nerves. We’re not agreeing on a specific topic.” They’re going to be available and talk me through it, but then they make it a bigger thing than what it is or they don’t know him the way I know him and the way some of my closest friends know him. They might try to make him out to more of a jerk than the actual situation. If you know my husband, he’s not a jerk. If anyone is a jerk in the relationship, it’s probably me. There are certain people who I can’t talk to about something.
You are an average of the five closest people that you surround yourself with on a daily basis.
Sometimes I’ll catch myself in the heat of a moment, maybe feeling vulnerable and I’ll be like, “I’m having a bad day. This conversation took place between my husband and me. It’s affecting me right now.” We’ll talk it through as friends, but then I reflect back and I was like, “I don’t know if that person gave me the best advice because that person probably doesn’t value relationships the way I value relationships.” They probably don’t value the things that he and I were arguing about on the same level or scale, where me and Brian argue about it.
There are friends where I can talk to them about the same things and they understand and know like, “This is a little rock in the road. You all need to work it out and talk it through. Everything will be fine,” or talking to friends be like, “You’re being petty. You need to get over it.” Sometimes what you need to hear from your circle is like, “Are they telling you the truth? Are they telling you what you want to hear? Are they using your misery to entertain themselves?” It’s something to be aware of.
We want to think about when we’re talking about groups of friends. Let’s go back to our super early days when we were a kid when we were in kindergarten or preschool. Remember how everyone was our best friend. Every single person was your best friend. Let’s be real. The bar back then was pretty low as far as who your best friend was.
“Do you like the color pink too, bestie?”
We had a new one every week. My mom would be like, “Who is this friend who is coming over?” “That’s my best friend.” “I thought so-and-so is your best friend.” “No, they’re not my best friend anymore.” There was no reason at that point that we had to keep our circle small when you add an entire classroom of best friends. Think about when you went to high school and having a huge circle of friends, your posse and your squad, that generally meant popularity. It was the epitome of cool.
As we go into adulthood, we lose and gain friends in almost every new chapter that we open. From school to college to work, we meet these people all in different places. As adults, we can go back, see and figure out who is a better circle of friends are. People come and go. That’s a healthy thing. Sometimes you can move on from people because they’re not necessarily the best fit in your path in life. That’s okay. It’s not necessarily a breakup. You can still consider them a part of your life, but maybe they’re not as big of a part of your life as they used to be.
It goes back to the saying that I always heard growing up like, “Sometimes people are coming for a season. There’s a seasonal friendship. There’s a reason why you guys stay friends.” Talking about friendships going into adulthood, one thing that I learned about myself was in my early twenties, mid-twenties, and late twenties, I had a lot of friends. Over time, especially as I progressed in life and my career, some of those friends didn’t stick around for whatever reason. I’m cordial with them still when I see them. We’re cool and all. Some of them, I’m not because some of them came from a place of jealousy and insecurity, where it affected our friendship because they were stuck in a rut and they couldn’t see me moving up and be happy for me at it.
I also noticed that I like my own company now. I have a good time by myself because I’m honest with myself. I know what I like. I don’t have to wait around for someone else and try to figure them out, please them, or whatever. It sounds selfish, but I’m saying it out loud. I can literally go sit down somewhere and have a glass of wine by myself and tune into my favorite podcast or my favorite audiobook or pull up my laptop and start working on real estate or whatever I’m in the mood for at the specific time. I have a genuinely good time with myself. I am sometimes my very own best friend.
There were times where I was like, “I wish I had someone else’s company here that I could laugh and talk with.” I learned when no one else is around like when my husband is busy and my best friends are busy and nobody has time because there are times in your life where everybody you know is busy. I’ve learned to be at peace with me in who I am in my own company because to me it’s like, “I’d rather be alone than being with someone who is gaslighting me or someone isn’t who they say they are but they’re trying to pretend they are because they feel like it’s what I want to hear at the time or be with someone who is a narcissist, hating on you or trying to manipulate you.” I trust my own company over everything.
It goes into our topic of having a board of advisors. We touched on it like who you call for advice and help. They might not be my average of people, but they’re definitely people who are in my life, who their decisions I respect. They’re not necessarily people who live and act like me and have the same life doubts as me. We all have a different backbone, upbringing, or something like that. They’re definitely people when I call and talk to about my concerns, issues and what’s on my mind at the time are going to give it to me from their perspective. They’re going to tell me like, “Honey, you’re either being way too dramatic or you’re right in your feelings. Your feelings are valid.” Can you think of people who you have, who you look up to like your board of advisors?
I have loved that term, that board of advisors’ term. I have those people. Sometimes that’s not always your family. There are some times in your life where your board of advisors are just some friends, where you feel like that you can tell anything to them. They won’t portray your confidence. They won’t judge you. They’re not there to tease or criticize you, but they let you express your feelings and emotions. As women, that’s so important for us to have someone like that in our life. Yes, I absolutely do. I know that I’m on that board of advisors for some other people, too.
It was something that brought tears to my eyes one day. One of my best friends is someone who I’ve known since high school. We’ve been friends since the ninth grade, I remembered that we were talking about her life and some of her struggles. She had gotten married relatively early. It didn’t end up working out for her. She came home and felt like she was a failure. I started going through some things in my own relationship at the time. I remembered when I finally ended up making the decision to leave my relationship, she said, “Jenny, you are so brave.” That simple comment where someone actually looks up to you and sees you as their board of advisors and comes to you for that type of advice but also at the same time tells you how strong of a person you are, I was bawling like a baby. I was like, “That is the nicest thing that anyone has ever told me.”
You never know who you’re influencing or impacting. I’ve never had a friend and say, “Jenny, by the way, you are one of the chairs on my board of advisors.” I’ve never legitimately said that to anyone.
Whether you realize it or not, your friendships are really affecting your level of success.
Maybe we should be out there, drawing our board of advisors.
I’m calling my husband and be like, “Brian, by the way, you’re on my board.” He’s going to be like, “Duh.” Those are the things where you never know what difference you’re making in someone’s life. In my board of advisors, I’ve never sat there and said, “Joe, you’ve been like a big brother to me. One of my other friends who I’ve known for a long time.” She’s been such a good friend to me. She’s one of the most conservative friends who I have who I admire and love so much and tells me all the time exactly what I need to hear, whether I want to hear it or not. I’ve never called and said like, “Dude, I appreciate our friendship.”
Definitely, it goes to show you where you make a difference in people’s lives. I would hope that I sit on someone’s board or I’ve made an influence in their lives as well. We have these positive people in our lives who influence or lift us in a positive way, whether we see it at the time or not. We also touched in the beginning on talking about staying away from negative people who bring negative energy. There are those people out there and sometimes we don’t see it. We don’t see it until it happens. They were like, “How did that get past me?” I always felt like an idiot when I like someone, it’s like, “I like this person. They’re cool. We’re hanging out. Everything is all good,” and then true colors come out. I’m like, “How did my instincts not pick this up?” Do you ever think about situations where you’ve been around someone who probably wasn’t the best person to have in your circle and they did bring you that negative energy?
At first, it was something that I ignored. I wrote off as different things. I started experiencing a questionable red flag like things that I’ll be like, “This person isn’t healthy in my life.” People tried to point it out to me a few times, but I was like, “No. They’re cool but.” Sometimes you got to figure it out for yourself. Since you were able to coin the term board of advisors, I decided and I can’t take this one for myself, but I am going to coin my own term for my small circle of friends. Instead of a board of advisors, I’m going to call them Fat-Free Friends. The triple F, I know.
It has nothing to do with a diet. It has nothing to do with what you’re eating and what they’re eating. Whether you realize it or not, your friendships are affecting your level of success. People you spend your focus and energy on are not only influencing who you are but how you view yourself and who you’re able to become. There are some people sometimes who are in your circle of friends at the time who bring you down. You take that time and you’re able to re-evaluate relationships. Step back from toxic relationships and make your circle a little bit lighter.
We want to think about something like a fatty. It’s like pewie, sticks to you, weighs you down and makes you slow. Think about after you eat five donuts, do you want to go work out? Probably not. They’re making you lethargic and unhappy. I think it’s everyone we talked about. There’s somebody in everybody’s life who makes them feel that way. A person who you want to keep in your life is fat-free. I’m attributing that to a wonderful woman. Her name is Chalene Johnson and she does run her own show. She’s a girl boss like us. She calls them Fat-Free Friends. I’m going to coin that term. You can have your board of advisors and I will have my fat-free friends.
There you go, Jenny Craig. You have your fat-free friends. I have my board of advisors. I like how you related that back to that positive energy. When I talk about staying away from negative people and people who bring negative energy, in some cases, you won’t always get to be away from those people because sometimes those people who have negative energy in your life might be blood-related to you. You can’t get away from them, but you got to know how to deal with them. You got to know how to not let it bring you down. You got to know like, “This is who they are, but this is who I am.” You can’t forget the truth about yourself.
There were also times in certain scenarios where I’ve made friends with people and I thought things were going great. All of a sudden, I was like, “This person is full of gossip. They say they’re happy for me, but I don’t feel like they’re happy.” You can tell. You always get this vibe like this person says, “Good job. Hooray, good for you,” but I get this vibe they’re low-key jealous about it. I get this vibe that they’re talking about me when I leave the room. When you’ve worked on yourself, you love yourself and you protect your circle and the people who you bring into it, you can detect that stuff.
Ladies, listen to your instinct and intuition. If you have a person in your life where you feel like, “I think this one gaslights me, this one might be a narcissist or this one might not be happy with herself,” follow that instinct. My big ask of you is not necessarily to treat them differently or let them know like, “Hefer, I know what you think about me.” Don’t do that. Have empathy about it because that person is struggling somewhere in their life. They’re still trying to find peace and happiness with themselves, where we all at one point needed to find peace and happiness with ourselves.
Have some empathy about it. Be cordial, but be mindful of the energy they bring. If you’re going to sit down with them at lunch or sit down with them at dinner, happier or whatever, be mindful that this is who they are, but don’t ever let it break you and who you are. Don’t forget the truth about who you are, who you’ve worked on to be and who your board of advisors are. Don’t forget that truth about yourself.
You brought up a good point. Ladies, do not go on your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and announce to the world that you are no longer friends with somebody. That’s not what we’re asking you to do. What we’re telling you to do is make a decision to spend less time with that person maybe or put some of your energy into other things. Get yourself busy. At that point, you slowly, naturally drift apart and there’s no need for a big fallout.
Keep a safe distance. If you have to show up, show up for things that matter like birthdays or promotions. You don’t have to be at every event for them. You don’t have to be there all the time. Be mindful like, “This person has great intentions, but they have a lot of work to do.” Be mindful of that when it comes to protecting yourself, the energy and the people who you bring into your life, your circle of influence.
The rule of averages, remember, think about your five closest people, who are they and where does that put you in your averages. This could be an eye-opening experience for you where you could think like, “Maybe I should probably make some new friends. I got some pretty good people in my life.” You are the average of the five closest people who you hang out with. Think about who your board of advisors is, who you’re going to for advice and what kind of advice they’re giving you. Is it sound advice? Is this person may be setting you up for a disaster? It could be anything. Protect your energy and stay away from negative people. Please don’t mistreat them. Everybody is going through something. Try to protect the people who you let into your life. Protect the energy that you bring into your life because you worked too hard to be dragged into anything less than what you deserve.
The only piece of advice that I can leave you all with is, surround yourself with people who are on their game and people who are going to make you feel uncomfortable with being complacent because those are going to be the people who push you to be more, do more and live more.
For now, we’re going to go ahead and sign off. We hope that you liked this episode on your Circle of Influence and it gave you something to think about and meditate on. Ladies, as we always say, whatever girl boss you decide to be, just make sure you always keep it 100.