Some years ago, some of my friends and I would hang out at a friend’s place all the time. It was something like Moe’s tavern in the Simpsons. At the end of the day, you knew you could swing by his place and there would be 3 or 4 friends, just hanging out, having a couple of beers, and maybe playing some poker, board game, video-game, whatever. It was kinda cool having a place to crash and blow off some steam after a hard day at work or school.
I’m not sure at what moment things changed, but suddenly, I found myself sitting at the table, having a couple of beers, talking about those friends that were not there that day. One time, a friend flew to a major city nearby to find a job, and the conversation that day revolved around how he was obviously not going to get anything because he lacked experience. On another day, a friend had left the city to be trained for a new role; a role of which we knew close to nothing because he had been very secretive about it, but it was supposed to be a good role within a national company, so the conversation that day was about how it probably wasn’t such a great position and he was over-selling the importance of it.
You get the idea.
Of course it was always supposed to be ‘harmless fun’, but it basically set the tone of what our lives looked like back then. Work, talk shit about people, worry about what they would say about you when you left, rinse, repeat.
And then I read a quote that made me reflect on what was happening around me.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
— Jim Rohn
I realized that, although I did have fun and appreciated the people around that table, I didn’t feel like the people around me were rooting for me. And I wasn’t rooting for them. I was enjoying making fun of their failures and secretly hoping for more of them to have more material.
That wasn’t the type of person I wanted to be. So something had to change.
Slowly, but decisively, I started showing up less and less often to those late night gatherings.
Sometimes people mistake the quote above as ‘choose your friends depending on how much they will help you advance in your career.’ That’s a wrong interpretation of the quote. It’s more about surrounding yourself of people that live their life in a way that you want to live yours.
Define what ‘success’ means to you, and see who’s doing those type of things.
I decided I wanted to surround myself by people that create cool and exciting things, people that want to give first and support everybody in their path.
I surrounded myself of that type of people. I started going out and meeting with friends that were doing things that were exciting. People that worked on things that they were passionate about. It didn’t matter if it was something I didn’t care about specifically. Friends who were excited about their new business, their new role within a non-profit, a new project they were leading in their community, a new play they were writing, a co-working space they were opening. It didn’t matter if it was business related or if it had something to do with me, my business or my career.
The change in who I was as a person, what I was doing, the conversations I was having, the energy around me, was amazing.
One of the lessons I’ve learned since then is that it’s all about the people.
Life’s about the people that surround you.
Somehow, now it’s actually my job to support people that want that are working to create changes within their communities. Some of the most talented, kind and passionate human beings I’ve ever met.
I’m constantly surprised by the things I learn, experience, and by my growth at a personal level. It almost feels selfish. So I try to do my best to actually give some of that energy back. Hopefully, helping others grow and become the type of person they want to be along the way.
I’ve come to realize that we underestimate how people shape who we are and how our life looks like. Don’t make that mistake.
Life’s not about where you live, it’s not about the title you have, it’s not about what you do. Life’s about the people that surround you. The people you help. The people you can have deep, raw conversations until sunrise. The people you can just sit around with and watch silly youtube videos and laugh your ass off. It’s about the people you can be transparent, vulnerable, cheesy, and silly at the same time. The people who create amazing things and are having a real impact on the people around them.
It’s all about the people.