In this precious hectic life, effective time management is a must. We’re constantly fine-tuning things as schedules change and priorities shift; and when do we reach that balance – where everything just flows – it feels pretty fabulous. But that’s not enough. In order to be our happiest, most fulfilled and successful selves, we need to also be extremely aware of the people with whom we spend our time.

According to self-improvement expert and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, ‘We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.’ This philosophy has become increasingly popular over the last few years (and has totally permeated the start-up industry). And although I don’t personally think it’s as clear-cut as this quote suggests (I believe we need to include ourselves in this group of 5), we are undoubtedly very affected by those with whom we surround ourselves. When we choose to spend time with those who inspire and encourage us, our happiness, wellbeing and career success all receive a tremendous boost.

1/ Find Your Top 5. Consider one full day and how many of your hours you spend with each person. Usually your top 5 includes a blend of family, a significant other, work colleagues and a few close friends.  Write down this short list of names and go through each name – reflecting on each individual’s personality and unique qualities. Ask yourself: Who is this person? Is he or she optimistic? Successful? What does he or she do for a living?  What motivates this person?

dreamcatcher blue2/ Evaluate Your List. Once you’ve gotten a clearer picture of who your top 5 influencers are, take things a step further and consider if these individuals are able to help get you to the next level in your career — and/or in upping your personal happiness.  Do they have your best interest at heart? Are they there for you as friends or mentors? Do they challenge you and encourage you? Do they believe in you?

3/ Shield (Awareness).  There are often a few in our top 5 who drain rather than uplift us. And, unfortunately, sometimes we’re forced to continue spending time with less than positive influencers. This is where your awareness comes into play; you have the ability to consciously turn down the volume when it comes to negative influencers. (For instance, if you’re dealing with a negative co-worker or family member and you know that this person is a certain way, you can shield yourself – at least partially – from being affected just by being consciously deciding not to be.  This takes practice – especially with family members where tensions can run deep – but it really works and is very empowering.)

4/ Shift.  Gradually work to spend more time with the most inspiring members of your top 5 — those who inspire and positively challenge you to be your best.  Meanwhile, decrease the time you spend with negative influencers (those who discourage you, who subtly or blatantly don’t believe in you or wish you the very best.) 

Your top 5 will evolve and change with time; however, by being continually aware of who your positive influencers are and working to prioritize them (while consciously de-prioritizing negative influencers) your life – personally and professionally – will take a beautiful upward turn.

* Song for This Moment: “Battle Cry” (by Angel Haze featuring Sia)

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