A mentor of mine used to say, we are all the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. She frequently challenged me to ensure I have a wide range of perspectives, relationships and influences in order to grow as a person.
Who are the top 5 people you spend the most time with? How diverse it your circle?
All too often we pick people to hang out with, and talk to, who are so similar to us that we don’t grow. Who we spend our time with has a dramatic impact on who we ultimately become. When we choose to engage in extensive dialogue with a wide range of diverse people, we will find tremendous value and knowledge added to our lives.
Do we need to expand our circle of influence? Do we need to add people to our life with different perspectives, backgrounds and ideologies? I believe, the answer for all of us… is a resounding yes!
How Do We Expand Our Circle? Here are a few simple strategies I have found useful to force myself to move beyond the familiar and comfortable relationships and diversify those in my circle.
- Identify – Look around and identify people who really different from you.
- Ask – Ask a people from diverse backgrounds out for coffee or over for dinner.
- Stretch – Intentionally choose to spend time with those who differ from you in a variety of ways. Specifically choose people with different political, religious and racial backgrounds.
- Listen – The point of expanding your circle is to learn and grow as a person… force yourself to ask questions and listen to the responses.
- Learn, Don’t Judge – Continually look for what you can learn and avoid making judgements or opinions about what people share with you.
- Follow Up – Whether you become friends with the people you engage or not, follow up periodically. You never know the impact these relationships will have in your life.
Some of the most rewarding conversations and relationships in my life are with those people who are wildly different then me.
Do you have any other ideas or tips on this topic? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or shoot me an email.