Personal environment means the group of you and your closest friends – aslo called inner circle. Modelling your inner circle (or letting go of certain friends) can be a rather controversial topic. Many people will describe it as cruel, bad or just unacceptable. Others would say that you are only taking advantage of your friends. But I believe that say you are a product of your closes friends.
Your inner circle can keep you at your current level forever or it can propel you in space. After all, your closest friends listen to your ideas and share their ideas with you. You reach out to them for advise and they reach out to you with the requests. You recommend books to your inner circle and you read the books they recommend. If you are lucky enough you might also be brave enough to start a company together, or they can recommend you to join their companies.
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What is your inner circle?
Your inner circle and your personal environment is consisted of the people that influence you and that allow you to influence them. These are the people with which you spend the most time, the people with which you talk the most.
Who is in your inner circle?
There are several types of people in your inner circle:
- Those that you follow on the social media. You should not disregard them, because you consciously choose them as your influencers. In these category fall bloggers, famous people, book writers, columnists, philosophers that you follow. The connection here is unilateral, because those people usually don’t know about you.
- Your real-life friends with whom you communicate on fairly regular bases. In order to fall into this type, you should allow those people to influence you. Family friends with which you are “forced” to spend time, does not count. The connection here is bilateral.
- Your colleagues who you admire. Mr. X who is very good at database scripts and Mrs. Y who is very good in people management both fall into this category as long as you strive for those qualities. The connection here can be uni- or bilateral.
Tribes and Chieftains
Humans have developed a lot over the centuries, but they have also kept a great deal of their ancestor’s habits. You still produce hormones that help you escape stressful situations (more on the topic here). You still shrug your shoulders when you don’t know an answer to a question. Only 30% or less of communication between humans is conveyed verbally.
The same principle goes for unifying into groups called tribes. Your tribe contains all those people that are influenced by you. All those people that would listen when you have something to say. To them you are their chieftain.
But you are also part of other tribes that have their own chieftains. All followers of a blogger are part of their tribe. Today, unlike thousands of years ago, you can switch your tribes. This is the way evolution works and you should be aware of your choices.
Improving your personal environment lies in studying and modelling your tribes. And your inner circle is nothing more than your most important tribe.
Who is not in your inner circle?
Sometimes it is easier to define the outer boundaries of a term in order to understand it better.
- Your drinking friends are most probably not in your inner circle. Especially if you meet them only after sundown.
- Your classmates and early child friends are also most probably not in your inner circle. Probably only those that you really trust could be listed as close friends.
- The random guy in the office who says “Hello” and smiles when you meet is certainly not inner circle material.
- Max Musterman, the famous basketball player, who scored a triple-double last week, is also not your inner circle. Unless you are not striving to become a professional basketball player yourself.
- The members of your family do not belong to your inner circle of friends. You spend a lot of time with them, you trust them and they trust you but your family and its members belong to another topic.
How to find your inner circle?
Grab a pencil and a piece of paper and follow these steps:
- List the 5-7 people from your personal environment with whom you spend the most time. It is not important if you like them or not and if they like you or not. Be honest to yourself. This is your inner circle. Keep track of it and update it regularly.
- Next to each name on the list add a short description or an adjective or a color association.
- Put a star to the people that are negative, do not understand you, or that could not help you achieve your goals.
- Write down 3-5 people who are outside your inner circle but that you respect and value. These may be people that you have not personally met or people that you know but are not close to you. Carefully select those people and make sure that they posses the qualities that you admire or strive to acquire.
- Surround yourself with those people. Follow them on the social media, read what they say and do what they suggest. Try to establish relationship with those people but don’t stalk them!
- Write down actions you can take this month to meet these people or build stronger relationship with the ones that you know already.
Who are the positive people in your inner circle?
The positive people in your personal environment are the ones that show the following qualities:
- Great listeners
- Emotionally intelligent
- Of good character
Who are the negative people in your inner circle?
The negative people in your personal environment on the other hand are the following:
- People who cannot be honest with you
- People who are deliberately honest in order to hurt you
- People who are using you
Inner circle roles
Every strong inner circle of friends needs the following roles:
1. The champion
The champion is courageous and is not afraid of challenge, failure and innovation. He or she stands up for his beliefs and they would praise you to everyone else they know if you deserve it.
2. The networker
The networker is a “guy who knows guys“. He or she is very social and talkative and has connections in every field. You usually ask the networker for references and when you need to connect to others.
3. The generator
Those people are full of energy and can easily energize others. They can boost your spirits when you are feeling down. They are like a car battery.
4. The creator
The creators build and motivate. They help maintain hope for the future. They help you build faith in yourself and your dreams and goals. Those people enable you to learn your strengths, talents and expose your skills.
5. The helper
The helper is someone with whom you share a lot of interests. You collaborate with them to create a common destiny. Those people would most likely spend the most time with you.
6. The living conscious
You need someone to bring you back to the ground when you soar too high. They introduce you to better ideas and opportunities. They also help you dream big.
7. The friend
You need someone to call when you have good or bad news. Those people are always there for you.
8. The adviser
They posses the ability to guide you when you need advice. The help you think through issues and contemplate options.
How can you model your inner circle to improve your personal environment?
First of all, You need to define your place in your circle. What role (or roles) do you have in your inner circle. A great post to help you find your strengths can be found here. It is possible that you posses the traits of more than one role – this is great.
Now review your current inner circle and match the members to the roles. Answer the following questions:
- Do you have roles that are free? If yes, try to recruit a friend for that position. Do it like you are preparing to interview a candidate for a position. What qualities does the perfect hire need to have?
- Do you have roles where you could do better than what you currently have? If yes, think about recruiting one more time.
- Do you need to swap people around? Maybe you are using one of your friends as a different role than his actual skills. Consider changing your behavior.
Show me your friends and I will show you your characters.
Your friends are not your family and you are not “stuck” with them. You have the power to review and model your inner circle. Your personal environment can affect the success or failure of your goals and dreams.
Learn the mechanics of the inner circle and the different roles in it. Match your existing members to the roles and make the required modifications.
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