birds leader

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”― Jim Rohn

While I have never been a fan of the idea that we are the sum total of our five closest friends, I do appreciate the awareness that such a statement creates. The idea begs a couple of important questions—

1—What am I learning from the actions (or inactions) of those around me?

2—How are my actions (or inactions) instructing others?

Often, without our even realizing it, those around us are taking cues from us about how to behave, what to say, and even whether or not to believe in themselves. If you’re in a leadership role, the chances of others imitating you are 10x’s stronger—no pressure! It’s a ridiculous amount of responsibility, yet the potential for inspiration and personal growth are insanely powerful when we accept it.

The truth inherent in this reality hit me between the eyes when my friend Aisha shared a bit about her experience of being stationed in Kentucky after growing up in Queens, New York. In Queens, she told her jokes with swagger and fun. In Kentucky, she found herself editing her stories and tiptoeing around her natural style as she struggled to fit in.

While Aisha’s style, dreadlocks and music preferences were a perfect fit in Queens, Kentucky hardly boasted the kind of cultural diversity she was accustomed to. With the majority of her colleagues sporting cowboy boots and listening to country music, Aisha found herself struggling to tell her jokes, and simply be herself.

Desperate to figure it out, she started watching a fellow mocha-skinned officer who was well respected despite the fact that he drove around base in his Lexus, with spinning rims, and blaring 2Pac. Wanting that same level of freedom, Aisha asked him, “How do I do this?”

“You’re the one making a big deal of your skin—they don’t care. Tell your jokes, just like you’d tell them to me,” he said, giving Aisha permission to trust in (and be) herself.

“They did laugh, Misti,” Aisha told me, “and I realized that all I needed to do was be me.”

The simple act of confidently expressing himself inspired Aisha to not only ask for guidance, but also embrace her natural style, positively shifting her experience of Kentucky and every other place she was stationed afterward.

Regardless of whether we’re talking about close friends, or strangers we watch from a distance at the grocery store, this type of influence is happening constantly. Rather than focus on your five closest friends, consider noticing the actions that inspire you to do more, dream more, and become more… of who you really are.

Yes—notice the liars, cowards, and addicts of the world, and then chose courage, truth, and peace of mind without wasting a second in judgment. Also, notice the brave, open-minded, seekers, and allow them to open your heart and embrace the struggle to the journey to full self-acceptance.

Your actions (inactions) are silently giving others permission to—be themselves, take risks, believe in themselves, ignore difficulty, pretend to be someone they’re not, listen, talk over the top of others, set goals, help others reach their goals… the list goes on and on. What’s on your list?

Awareness is key. Behavior shifts naturally as awareness sharpens. Tune in and ask yourself, “What are my actions giving others permission to do, be, and become?” Likewise, “Whose courage (or cowardice) am I allowing to influence my beliefs and behaviors?” The simple act of noticing is the key to getting—and inspiring—the results that matter to you.

Here’s to Your Greatness,

Misti Burmeister

NEW! Ready to reconnect to the excitement of—

—Your work/career

—Leading your team

—Growing your bottom line, along with your people?

Grab your 40 minute Gearing for Greatness session with Misti today—

“Misti’s approach and directness are what make her exceedingly valuable. She cut through the noise and got right to the heart of pushing me to focus and keep my eye on the ball.” –Alvin Katz, Co-Founder, Katz/Abosch