When I refer to a circle, I’m talking about people within your sphere of influence. There are people inside and outside the circle — and there is a big difference between the two.
There are more people outside the circle than within it, and for a good reason. Those outside the circle will often change, whereas those within it may stay consistent throughout your lifetime. It’s that circle which defines us.
Only those who care about you can hear you when you are quiet.
The people inside are a reflection of our character and integrity, the compass when we are not on course, and the voice that tells what we don’t want to hear, but know it’s true. Within that circle are the hands that catch us when we fall and pat us on the back when we succeed.
My father often told me, “If you can count your true friends on more than one hand, you need to count again”, which led me to understand the differences between friends and acquaintances in life. We should have extreme gratitude for the blessings of a trusted, loyal friend. A friend that has earned a place in your sphere of influence is a lifeline. Friendships expose the person we strive to become. They are the ones that set the bar, that we listen to, and are like-minded, and that is why we are attracted to them.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
— Jim Rohn
The challenge in this equation is that to secure those within your circle, you must have the same dedication and loyalty to their needs. It takes sacrifice, honesty, selflessness, and vulnerability on both ends. You have a tremendous responsibility to uphold your end of the deal. If it’s real, it won’t feel like it involves effort. That’s why, in most cases, you don’t have that many in your sphere. It is because there is only enough of you to give — too many people, not enough loyalty and commitment.
As I have grown older and wiser, a lesson I’ve learned is that your circle may decrease in size, but it increases in value. As an aspiring leader, you need to understand that your friends will change as you grow. I want to emphasize three words . . .
As you are growing intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, your path takes you in different directions. As a result, your needs and interests require like-minded people that you are attracted to, while past friends may go their own way. It’s just a shift in your circle of influence, not closure.
Surround yourself with people who remind you of the future, not the past.