I’d like for us to take a look at the power of influence in our lives and how it is possible to be nudged off course a little at a time until finally, we find ourselves asking, "How did I get here?"
We should ask ourselves three key questions:
1) "Who am I around?" You've got to evaluate everybody who is able to influence you in any way.
2) "What are these associations doing to me?" That's a major question to ask. “What have they got me doing, listening to, reading, thinking and feeling?” You've got to make a serious study of how others are influencing you, both negatively and positively.
3) "Is that okay?" Maybe everyone you associate with has been a positive, energizing influence. Then again, maybe there are some bad apples in the bunch. All I'm suggesting here is that you take a close and objective look. Everything is worth a second look, especially the power of influence. Both will take you somewhere, but only one will take you in the direction you need to go.
Only then can we discuss three ways to handle associations or relationships that are holding you back.
1) Disassociate. This is not an easy decision, nor something you should take lightly, but in some cases it may be essential. You may just have to make the hard choice not to let certain negative influences affect you anymore. It could be a choice that preserves the quality of your life.
2) Limited association. Spend major time with major influences and minor time with minor influences. It is easy to do just the opposite, but don't fall into that trap. Take a look at your priorities and your values. We have so little time at our disposal. Wouldn't it make sense to invest it wisely?
3) Expanding your associations. This is the one I suggest you focus on the most. Find other successful people that you can spend more time with. Invite them to lunch (pick up the tab) and ask them how they have achieved so much or what makes them successful. Now, this is not just about financial success; it can be someone who you want to learn from about having a better marriage, being a better parent, having better health or a stronger spiritual life.
It is called association on purpose—getting around the right people by expanding your circle of influence. And when you do that, you will naturally limit the relationships that are holding you back. Give it a try and see for yourself.