For awhile now, when I’ve heard the phrase “You’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with,” it’s never felt right to me. In fact, it’s actually rubbed me the wrong way.
While, for a long time, I didn’t get why, and I tried to fall into what other highly-successful people and coaches were saying, I could feel the dissonance that lay underneath this.
So, as with anything that pokes at me, I began to ask why. Why didn’t this feel true to me, and most importantly, why did this idea get under my skin so much?
It was then that it hit me. This statement is rooted in a fundamental mistruth.
What is this mistruth?
That our value comes from outside of us, and really, that our value comes from others. Mix this with the idea that you’re more valuable based on your career and success (or lack thereof), and you’ve got the perfect recipe for what it looks like to live in the illusion.
What is living in the illusion?
It’s heavily identifying with who you are as (insert your name here!) and your circumstances. So, let me give you one example of what this could have looked like for me before I got into this work. Many of you know that I was in medical sales before I started coaching. If I had bought into my title, role or what I was making as my identity, and along with this, that I was only valuable based on what job I had in the world, this would have been buying into the illusion. The alternative here is living more from your soul, where you know everyone is equal, no matter what their job or title is, and with this, that we’re all connected and even, that we’re all one. While this may be a stretch, which is okay, this is an important shift to start to make.
Let’s look at this from another perspective. Every person has value to offer. Every. Single. Person. While looking at my relationships and who I spend the most time with from the success angle is one perspective, and this perspective isn’t a bad one, especially when it’s mixed with additional perspectives, it’s also important to look at it from the soul level.
For me, when I look at it from the soul-level perspective, I look at the growth all of my relationships offer me, and many times, the biggest growth I’ve experienced with friends and family has not necessarily been with the people that society would define as the most successful, but with people who are connected and who have done the work to learn how to communicate and be in relationship with another. (I.e., They have emotional intelligence.) These types of relationships (among many things) offer me the opportunity to learn how to communicate my needs and what’s going on for me in a safe environment, which for me, has always offered huge growth and up-leveled me significantly. From the opposite perspective, if you look at a highly-successful person who’s lacking in this and maybe wants to be the center of attention in any room, it’s important to recognize if this relationship is a healthy relationship for you, and in general, feels good to be around. Of course, on the flip side, you can also have a highly-successful person who also has emotional intelligence and is very healthy for you to be around. The important thing to recognize is that someone else’s success doesn’t mean anything about you and with this, not to generalize based on their achievements. (I.e., They are successful, so that’s someone I should definitely spend time with or vice versa.)
With this, it’s important to recognize a huge piece of our soul work is and has always been to learn how to feel value from within. Period.
Here’s a few simple places to start:
1. Say no when you mean no (and yes when you mean yes!).
2. Don’t stay in relationships where you feel disrespected or devalued. (I recommend communicating your discontent first and trying to talk about it with the other party, but if nothing changes, it may be time to leave.)
3. Stop accepting less than you desire and deserve, whether it’s around the way someone is treating you (This is an extension of #2, as someone doesn’t have to be treating you disrespectfully for you to be desiring more.), what you’re charging or getting paid at your job/in your business or staying too long in your job, relationship or even, where you’re living.
So, that being said, let’s summarize. 🙂
In essence, growth can come from anyone you spend time with. Sure, there’s business or success growth, but there’s also soul growth and all of these are valuable. With this, know, that no matter who you’re spending time with, if you’re not working on and owning your internal value, all of the rest of the value is just illusion anyways. Not to mention, the more you value yourself and feel this from within, the more this will get reflected on the outside, including in your work/business, life and relationships.
To your value being defined as the sum of you!