Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time together…naturally! We were each other’s only sibling, and considering that we went to the same college, we pretty much rocked it out together for a solid, 22-year span. When you spend that much time with a person, you have to expect some of their habits will rub off on you. And in our case, they did. My brother and I were always uber-competitive with each other, so anytime he got an A in a class, I made sure to get an A in that same subject. If he scored 12 points in his basketball game, I tried to score 14 in my next one. Okay…maybe I was just super-competitive with him, but either way, his drive and dedication made me driven and dedicated, which is something that has stayed with me throughout my almost-but-not-quite 30 years. My brother just got married this past weekend, so I want to dedicate this intro to him. (Here you go, bro. Enjoy the fame.)
My point: you are who you hang out with. Call it your crew, your tribe, your squad -– whatever you name for it is, your closest group of friends and family is your sphere of influence In high school, I cut my hair short because my friends cut their hair short (bad decision). In college, I stopped drinking soda because my soccer teammates didn’t drink soda (good decision). It doesn’t matter how major or minor it is -– the people you spend the majority of your time with will mold your thoughts and actions. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your closest ones are good ones.
As I’m slowly approaching the end of my twenties (wow, that’s scary), I’ve come to realize that in order to guide your life in a positive direction, you must have the right people around you –- to support you, push you, and remind you of what truly matters. That’s why I’m filling you in on the five best types of influencers you need to have in your inner circle –- these personality types have helped shape me into who I am today (and I feel like I’ve turned out to be a fairly decent person). Some people may disagree, but hey, we’re not here to discuss my sainthood.
1. The One Who Keeps You Grounded
We millennials grew up as the generation where everything we did was great! Amazing! Fantastic! And…our egos have had to pay for it. While you may accomplish some great things during your time on this earth, to the Big Guy Upstairs (or the cosmos, or the Abyss, or whatever fits your belief system), you are no better than the guy serving you dinner at your local taco joint. And sometimes, we need to be reminded of that. Having someone in your circle who can bring you back to reality is vital to keeping your compassion and maintaining your respect for others. No one likes to be around a snob –- and if you’re feeling a little high on your horse, be grateful for that friend who’ll knock you off it. A little “Hey…you’ve got broccoli in your teeth” can take anyone down in an instant.
2. The One Who Nurtures Your Belief (Whatever It Is)
I realize that not everyone is necessarily a “church” person, and that’s ok; however, having some kind of spiritual aspect to your life (even if it’s non-religious meditation) is vital to your mental health, whether you believe it or not. There will be times during your life where you go through rough patches and feel very alone, times where you feel life is unfair and unjust. That’s the moment when faith (in yourself, your loved ones, the world, or something higher) becomes important –- it steps in to reassure you that everything will be alright and that someone is watching over you (even if it’s just that friend who’s nurturing your belief in yourself!).
As someone whose faith and personal relationships have gotten me through some very hard times, I sincerely urge you to make sure you have someone there to help you nurture your own beliefs, whatever they are. It can easily get pushed to the backburner during our day-to-day lives, and when the world blows up in your face (which it inevitably will, at least once during your life), you’re going to want to have that faith to fall back on, and that person by your side to remind you of it.
3. The One Who Stirs Your Ambition
Shonda Rhimes said it best when she remarked that “dreams do not come true just because you dream them.” If that was the case, I’d be married to Justin Timberlake and starring on Broadway. (And please note, I can’t sing or dance. And JT doesn’t want me).
It’s the doers who turn dreams into reality. While you can get buy for awhile on your own motivation, sometimes it will wane, especially when you feel the pull to meet your friends at the bar when you should be staying in to work on your side hustle’s social media plan (yeah, I’m calling myself out on that one.) That’s why having someone else with the same drive and ambition is so helpful –- when you see others making the sacrifices to get to their goals, it makes you want to do the same. And, in the end, finding that success you’ve worked so hard for tastes a lot sweeter than all those weekends riddled with hangovers. Because let’s be real: a Saturday spent in bed nursing a headache is never fun.
4. The One Who Goes To Bat For You
I went through a short period a few years ago where my confidence was in the gutter. My self-worth had dipped to an all-time low, and I couldn’t showing myself the same respect I was showing everyone else. It was a rough patch, and I felt stuck in a fire that I was fueling myself.
I was fortunate enough to have people around me who fought for me. Not in actual fist-to-fist combat (although, they may have done that, too –- who knows), but they went to bat for me when I couldn’t. They reminded me of my worth and stood by my side and defended my decisions and my actions. And you need those people. The ones who won’t ask questions but will show up at your doorstep the moment you hit a crisis. The ones who will always have your back. The ones who will always be in your corner. It can be a pretty rough world to battle on your own, so it’s crucial to have at least one person by your side willing to take up your sword when it gets too heavy for you to hold.
5. The One Who Holds You Accountable
Ever set a goal and let it fall by the wayside way, WAY too early? Yeah…me, too. Even when I’m highly-motivated to accomplish my goal, I sometimes let other things seep in through the cracks and push me three steps back. That’s why having someone who will hold you accountable is key. They will remind you that whatever is distracting you isn’t worth giving up on your goal.
The best part is, you don’t even have to actually know the people personally who do this for you. All of the other personal finance bloggers that I’ve met online through Twitter or Instagram keep me in line with my goals (even if they don’t know it!). It’s nice to have that community to fall back on when I’m tempted to buy a new car (even though my works fine) or do a complete closet revamp (which is something I think about doing on a daily basis). Whatever your goals, you need to find that community that you can fall back on, whether that be people in your own life, or people you meet over the internet.
Even though I may not have convinced you of it yet, you really are highly-influenced by the people you spend most of your time with. They are the ones who shape your thoughts and actions, which is why it’s so important to be purposeful about whom you choose to be in your tribe. Unfortunately, that may mean cutting some toxic people out of your life. Which sucks. However, people who are going down in a blazing ball of fire will only take you with them (and I’m sorry, but that’s one amusement park ride I do not want to get on). I hope you spend a little time evaluating the personalities of the people who are closest to you and align them with the person you want to become. Because you have the potential to be great.
Now, it’s your turn: What type of person do you think is important to have in your squad?
Brittney is a CPA in Indianapolis who loves any & all carbs and in her spare time runs the blog Britt & the Benjamins, which is focused on helping people, especially women, achieve financial independence and kill it in their careers.
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