The quality of the people in our lives determine the direction and quality of our life - Andy Stanley
You've probably heard that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, which is classic Jim Rohn. It's true, and it's important.
Everywhere I look, people are talking about, writing about, and posting about the people and community we surround ourselves with. And I think this is interesting in terms of timing, because we are coming out of the first summer where many of us have been able to be with people, to travel, and to start to lean back into community.
I’m seeing this personally as I drop my kids off at school and connect with more of the parents. And as we're getting more rooted into what is still a newer to us church.And so community is very front and center.
There were some relationships that didn't survive the pandemic. There were some relationships that haven't survived the changes in me. There were some relationships where it was just time to shift.
So how do we evaluate the shift? How do we ensure that we are not just being complacent and comfortable, but that we are giving thought and intention to who we are spending time with and what that looks like?
Well, lets talk about the 4 types of people that you need in your life, and the four types of people that you don't - the people that are taking you and killing your calling. The cost is too high for that.
Let’s preface this with a quick quote from the book:
“While boldly living your purpose in the power of who God created you to be can function as a permission slip for others to live their most powerful and authentic lives, our lives can also function as a mirror that reflects the shortcomings of others. And sometimes, there isn’t a willingness to adapt or meet us where we are. Sometimes we have to let people go that are no longer in alignment with us as we move in the direction we are called to. That isn’t necessarily a them-thing or an us-thing, but purely a we-aren’t-on-the-same-page-enough-for-me-to-be-supported-by-maintaining-this-relationship thing.”
The reason I highlight this is that when we talk about the people we don't need, sometimes people take that into the space of “are you just telling me to cut out people in my life? What if that person who is exhibiting these traits that you're talking about with regards to people I don't need is my mother, or my husband or my best friend?”
I’m not saying that you need to blow up relationships.
I am, though, talking about boundaries, about being intentiona, and about how much time and space you allow those relationships to take up in your life. I am talking about which relationships are worth fighting for, and which ones are worth really leaning into. If it's a marriage, of course it's worth fighting for and leaning into. But if there is someone who you just defaulted into hanging out with for a number of years, maybe it'd be easy to drift or put up some hardline boundaries with them.
THE FOUR TYPES OF PEOPLE YOU DO AND DO NOT NEED IN YOUR LIFE
YOU NEED #1: ENCOURAGERS
Why do we need encouragers? And who are the encouragers?
They’re the people in your life who always build you up and are excited about what's next. They're excited about what's possible and see what you're capable of. Not only do they see it, but they tell you and you can pick up on and take on that energy from them. They remind you that “I can! I am capable! I can do this. I do have the capacity.” And because they believe in you, you can borrow their faith while you build your own.
Who in your life might be this kind of person?
One of my examples is my friend Jason.I will be having the most frustrating day and I’ll open up my Instagram to 9+ messages from Jason (because that's how many Instagram will show you there are).
“JULI!!!! LETS GO!!!!”
He reminds me to lean in and conquer what is in front of me. He believes in me, and that reminds me who I am. It reminds me of how God sees me. It helps me step out of the swirl of my life (because sometimes I get stuck in my own mud - we need people who will lift us up out of it).
Those are the encouragers. And if you're thinking, “I don't know if I have one of those,” then evaluating who is in your life, and starting to think about up leveling your people is URGENT.
If you're not surrounded by encouragers, or you don't have those encouragers in your life, you likely have these…
YOU DON’T NEED #1: DOWNERS
BTW - we've all been these people (we might be these people right now) so lets have some compassion here. We can love these people, we can choose not to be these people, and we can build healthy boundaries in relationship with these people.
Downers are the people who see the worst all the time. They're the people who tell you you can't, they tell you you shouldn't, they project a “life happens to you” mindset on to you.
“I don't think I could.”
“I tried once and I failed, so that's going to happen to you too.”
That's not truth or reality. It’s a a story, a mental construct. It’s their ego engaging in trying to keep them safe, which means not changing. And by extension, the people around can’t change because that creates change in their life. Remember, our egos want what certainty definitiveness and control.
We have subconscious unwritten agreements with the people in our lives - social contracts.
“I show up this way. You show up that way. We interact this way. We all know how this roles.”
When we change, we break the contract and their ego essentially goes “WTF?!”
Downers the people who make you question your capability and your worthiness. These are people that we consciously get to choose how much energy and time we are willing to give to in terms of building and maintaining a healthy relationship.
It might be a family member who you choose to spend a day with instead of a week. And sometimes its temporary while you work through your triggers and traumas, build more resilience and confidence, and become more capable of spending time with them and maintaining your mindset and emotional health.
When we get to a place of living in bold faith, unapologetic authenticity, and fearless courage, we can interact in those relationships in a way that they don't impact us, or they don't impact us as quickly/deeply, because we've done our own healing. So we can approach them from a place of compassion.
YOU NEED #2: CHALLENGERS
Do you have anyone in your life that will not allow you to stay in the status quo?