SWAN Saturday: Positive Influences

DenaApril 2, 2011

SWAN (Stop Wasting Away Now) Saturday is a weekly dose of inspiration from me to you. Each week I will make a short video post about something on my mind. The posts will be unscripted & shot straight from my soul. Stop wasting away now, life’s too short!

If you have trouble viewing the video, click here.

This week I asked my Twitter & Facebook communities what they’d like me to discuss in this post. My friend Josh responded, “I’d like to know about the characteristics that you look for in the people you surround yourself with.” This was a great suggestion because I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’ve written recently how I’ve been busy with more blogging, speaking, and life coaching. As I’ve gotten busier I’ve found that I’ve had to make some sacrifices in terms of how I spend my time and who I spend my time with. The busier I get, the more valuable my time becomes.

The reality is that most people are busy and it’s important that we make conscious decisions about how we spend our time. We need to focus on surrounding ourselves with people who will help us to accomplish our goals. When we’re looking for people who will help us accomplish goals, we have to look for certain characteristics.

In my experience, the people who have been there to help me along my path are positive people. I work to surround myself with people who tell me when I need to step things up or when I need to slow things down. I look for people who are willing to give me honest feedback & constructive criticism. Without that feedback, how can I improve myself as a person? I also look for people that have a really good, positive energy.

I’ve had a few negative experiences lately where I’ve been surrounded by negative, unsupportive people. With these people it seems that every time we talk or get together it’s about their problems & miseries. I’m all for being there for a friend in need, but there are some people who are consistently negative & never have anything good to say. These people are uninterested in my personal journey. That type of relationship is not for me. Sometimes it’s difficult to make hard decision and cut out negative influences, but its absolutely necessary. Negative people will suck the energy right out of us—not only with their words, but also with their actions.

It is important that we take a look at how our friends, acquaintances, and colleagues spend their time. It is a proven fact that we tend to succeed at a similar pace to the people around us. In the same token, we also tend to fail at a similar place to the people around us. It is critical to our individual success that we seriously look at our surroundings. We need to determine what it is that we really want in our own lives. Then, we can build a community around us of like-minded individuals who have similar goals to our own.

It’s not always easy. It has been historically difficult to do this. if you live in small town like I do, it can be especially difficult; but today we’re lucky. Technology enables us to make connections with people who we would have previously never been able to connect with. I recently wrote about Twitter and how it is an incredibly powerful tool for self improvement and relationship-building. The Internet gives us a unique ability to meet like-minded folks who are passionate about our journeys and who will help us achieve our goals. Take advantage of it.

In-person connections are equally as important. When you are spending in-person time with a friend or group of friends, make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with positivity, light, and love. That might mean getting on a site like Meetup.com and searching for groups in your area about topics that interest you. I recently joined the North Jersey Adventurers Group because I want to do more hiking, camping, & adventuring this year! There are groups out there for just about everything.

Volunteering is another awesome way to meet positive, like-minded people. When you meet fellow volunteers, you’ll already have something in common. Whether you’re volunteering at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen, you’re bound to make great connections with positive people. Think outside of the box.

Surrounding yourself with positivity is not always easy but it’s incredibly worthwhile. As you start to change the people that you surround yourself with, you will find that your entire existence transforms for the better.

I’d love to know what you think about the idea of surrounding yourself with positivity. Let us know what characteristics that you look for when choosing friends and acquaintances.

Thanks so much for tuning in. See you guys next time!

In love & light,

Comments (3)

  • Dawn

    April 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I totally agree about surrounding yourself with the right people. I have found I attract a lot of negative narcissitic people. Like you, I’m all about being a supportive friend, however, when it is all about them and all about the negative and how they just can’t do anything…it’s draining. and can be toxic.

    I face a situation where I have such a friend…when it is just her and i…things are great, but she surrounds herself with the wrong poeple, drama in it’s finest form. I know that I should let her go…however, she is a big reason I made it through my first year as a single woman…So it’s hard.

    There are so few of the right kind of people around here, it’s hard, I love the online community so we can all come together…Surround myself with love and support…both for the giving and the taking.

    1. Dena

      April 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      @ Dawn – Thanks so much for your comment. I know what you mean about how difficult it can be to let go of a friend even if he/she is toxic. I have had to do it in the past & it’s heartbreaking. People like you — with such big hearts — find it even harder. I will be thinking of you & sending you strength as you work through it. XO

  • Kristin

    April 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    On the surface, this sounds so self-serving, but it is in the best way possible. Sometimes you do need to think, “What is in it for me?” in order to stop being a door mat.

    And just because you are a life coach, doesn’t mean that you want to bear the burden of everyone else’s crosses. You are probably a natural first choice for your friends when they are going through difficult times, but perhaps that is them taking advantage of you and only thinking of what is “in it” for them (it is interesting how many ways we can twist that argument, huh?)

    I completely agree that surrounding yourself with people who are moving ahead and who are goal-oriented can help you meet your own goals. These are not the people who will say, “Oh, Dena, you want to lose 8 lbs.? Well, come out with me and eat french fries because you can start that tomorrow!” They will say, “Hey let’s to to the gym and cook dinner with some sort of healthy dessert option!”

    Your comment about e-communities is 100% correct for me, too!

    Kudos to hiking more. It is so great for your spirit (or so I think?) It might look like I spend the whole time photo documenting, but it isn’t the case. I love the time to be silent and completely in touch with my surroundings in real-time. I love getting lost, even (well, a little lost. If I get too lost, I run the risk of getting a little stressed out.)

    Annnnnd challah to the volunteering aspect, too. <3 I miss volunteering more than anything… I went from 15 years of year-round community service to virtually NONE in the last two years except for weekly tutoring sessions (adult literacy) during the summer, but that is what? 2.5-3 months? I miss the challenges and rewards that come along with working with my students and I hope to make that part of my life when I have a "big girl" job.

    Anyway, that's it. Love this SWAN idea.

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