Over the last few days, I have been hearing and reading lots about “auditing your circle.” This saying supposedly speaks to the importance of selecting friends and the power of their influence on your life. The rationale behind this concept is that you are the byproduct of the people you hang around most often.
So, there it is. No more blind loyalty to your friends. Kick those suckers to the curb. Dump those freaking losers!
Or should we?
To those who support the idea of “auditing your friends,” I would argue that rather than auditing your friend group and making a list of people to cut off from your life, why not AUDIT YOU!
That’s right—Audit Your Own Life!
You see, your friends are not responsible for holding you back. Your friends are not the reason you are not meeting your goals. Your friends are not the reason you have not committed to a singular task in years. Your friends are not the reason why you are more attracted to losing than winning. Your friends are not the reason why you abandoned your once noble aspirations. Your friends are not the reason why you quit the race.
Your friends are not the reason why you choose to live an undisciplined life. Your friends are not the reason why you are not getting those regular raises and promotions. Your friends are not the reason why your finances are in disrepair. Your friends are not the reason why your romantic relationships often end in ruins. Your friends are not the reason why you are not on the path to experiencing unparalleled success.
Auditing your friends is a bullshit excuse to justify why your life sucks—at the moment.
Could it be that your friends are not winning because you are not winning? Could it be that your friends are not where they ought to be in life, because as a leader, you have not modeled the right attitude and behavior to them? Could it be that YOU are the negative influence that needs to be removed from your friends’ lives?
The fact it, no one has that much control over your life. A person might be able to influence to a certain degree, but no one can control your actions. You are responsible for the outcomes in your life—both the positive and the negative. So, I categorically reject the premise that a person’s friends can determine his/her future.
Here’s why creating a list of people to cut off from your life is nonsensical. When you decide to create this list, you are essentially giving energy to the “problem.” It’s just like trying to get out of debt. If your focus is to get out of debt, then you are likely to remain in debt because where your focus goes your energy flows.
If you found yourself stuck on a mountainous hiking trail in near freezing temperature, you would not combat the cold by focusing on the cold. Doing so would be a death sentence. Rather than focus on the cold, you would deploy your focus and energy on building a fire and staying warm.
The same principle is at play as it relates to your concentric circle. Rather than audit your friendship circle, audit your own life—meaning, employ daily actionable strategies to increase your personal and professional brand value. By increasing your value, you will naturally attract the right individuals into your life. And those people who do not belong in your life will disappear like the morning mist or like wind-blown chaff on a hot sunny day.
I will develop this idea more in-depth on Tuesday’s podcast (The Mindfullness Show).
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