When I was in college, I joined a sorority. We had rules and guidelines, much like any organized group. One of those guidelines was that we were all to believe in the concept of sisterly love. It sounded good, but what are the chances we were all going to like each other just because we had joined the same sorority?
It took me awhile to realize I did not need to settle for surrounding myself with whoever just happened to be in my life. I could actually choose them. And I wanted to choose wisely.
Every one of my friends, clients, and business associates are individuals that I like, trust, and respect. By choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had lots of people in my life who were lacking one, two, or even all three or those very foundational elements (I plead temporary insanity!) Friends I thought were “cool” but would sell me down the river for a nickel. Or friends who were nice to my face, but bad-mouthed me behind my back. And friends whose lifestyle and values were not ones I could respect.
It’s only been in the last few years that I decided I wanted to expect more from the most important people in my life. And you should too.
My friends are people I like so much that I literally smile when they call or pop in on Skype or show up on my doorstep.
I trust them with my daughter and know that her interaction with them not only enhances her life, but makes her stronger by her association with them.
And I respect my friends so much, and the values that they live every day, that I continue to seek their advice and learn from their examples – the way they gracefully and maturely handle challenging circumstances, toxic people, daily frustrations, mistakes, crises, family, love, critics, business, and growing older.
One of the reasons our lives become so complicated is that we allow other people into our lives who don’t match our values.
Take out a piece of paper right now and list all of your personal family and friends, and professional associates who have all three of these qualities – you like them, you trust them, and you respect them.
Then list those people who don’t.
You have a choice. Whenever possible, surround yourself (and your family too!) with only those people you like, trust, and respect. If one of those elements is missing, why on earth would you want them in your in your life?