How to Curate Your Inner Circle
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
This Jim Rohn quote has contributed to my perception to self for quite some time. The underlying intent of Rohn’s quote, I believe is that, the people you choose to surround yourself with are the people that have the most impact on the person you become.
The people you choose to spend the most time with shape who you are as an individual. These people determine the conversations that dominate your attention, level of consciousness as well as adjust your values and beliefs in a particular area. Ultimately, you start to think and behave alike. They have just as much ability to elevate you as they do to bring you down.
We live in an era where “bigger is better” tends to be the general assumption when it comes to most of everything. So naturally, this is the mindset most of us are in when we are attempting to upgrade our network of connections to supersize — because the larger the number of people we’re acquainted with, the higher the odds in terms of opportunities that lead us to potential career advancement and ultimately material affluence.
However, expanding your network should not be about the number of people you know or the big name “connections” you have. Rather, it should be based on familiarising yourself with a selected group of people with whom you share common interests and values — the kind of people that will help you expand to a greater network of people that provide value to your life, in terms of career, purpose and self-development that cater’s specifically to you. That primary group of people should be lesser in quantity than you think.
Once you have spent time carefully curating your most trusted, inner circle you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much value they add to your lives and in turn how much value as a whole you can add to the larger community of the world who foster the same interests as you.
In order to keep up with the fast-paced environment we are all accustomed to, we tend to become time-deprived. Managing your time between work and family, as well as trying to network and maintain a social life can be especially taxing. However, networking and upholding a social life doesn’t necessarily have to be so consuming.
The general norm is to build networks with anyone and everyone that will communicate with you, but that is victim to the general assumption that the more people you know the more opportunities you will be exposed to. If anything, this assumption happens to be counterproductive because you’re branching focus, time and energy into people you barely know and don’t hold common interests with. So though you are exposed to more opportunities, those opportunities might not be the right fit for you. By giving your time to fifty or sixty people, rather than say five or ten, you tend to make far less of an impact in the world in terms of progression which makes it futile, hence, counterproductive.
Simply put, you need to be razor sharp in your quest to selecting your core group. So how do you go about this? First and foremost, start by assessing your own values, beliefs and interests, this will be the key factor in building a strong foundation. Do you hold control over the relationships in your life, or is that control ceded to others? The people you meet, the conversations you entertain — have they been of value to your life, or given value? Do you come out of them revived or drained? If it’s the latter, then you do not hold control over the “rules of engagement”, nor the choice of whom you spend your time with. It is crucial, to take back control and this can be accomplished by lessening the time invested in both people and ventures that are not rewarding to your personal and/or professional growth until you are fully able to extract yourself from said people and commitments.
Secondly, evaluate your routine and movement. This could be done in the form of evaluating; What you spend your time doing, Was it worth the time spent? Would you do it again? Would you invest more of your time to it? Or would you cut it out of your routine entirely? Evaluate whether the time spent doing it aligns with your values and beliefs. If it’s on the contrary, then allow it to be dropped, despite it potentially putting you in an awkward situation with friends or associates.
Lastly, evaluate your surroundings. The individuals you share your time with, the type of people that they are, if they contribute positively to your life or if you would rather cut them out. Always remember that a relationship should not be based on what they can give you and vice versa — the basic concept is not to invest time in those you believe could be beneficial to just you but rather to envision the big picture and perpetual value of establishing a mutually-beneficial relationship. Social capital is not built based on reciprocity but rather on being constructive and unselfish.
As you start to curate a smaller and more significant circle, you will begin to appreciate yourself as the architect of your surroundings. Building highly authentic relationships with lesser number of people that hold genuine value to you will give you a deeper context into their values, beliefs, wants and needs and likewise they will gain a deeper grasp of yours. Henceforth, providing you with the foundation on which to construct a substantial population that benefits from being acquainted with you and your inner circle.