It’s been repeated over and over. Now “it” has become a truth, one of those immortal axioms of life. “It” goes like this: “You become the sum total of the five people you hang around the most.”
That’s both devastating and empowering. The former because it means the people you are hanging around could potentially be a negative influence on you. The latter because it means choosing the right people to surround yourself with could make all the difference. It does. I’ve seen in play out in my life and in the lives of others.
Your five aren’t people that you visit or dine with occasionally or necessarily the people with whom you golf, play cards or shoot pool. No, these five are the people that know the most about you and love you anyway. They are the people that know your strengths and weaknesses, your victories and defeats, your possibilities and your pain.
They are few and far between. In fact, you are fortunate if you have five that you trust implicitly. I do and I’m blessed.
How do you find those five, what do you look for? Here are four key areas to focus on. In order to help you remember them, the first letter of each word spells the word FIVE.
1.) Make sure they are people of Faith, especially if you are. If not, they won’t get you and may never get you or your perspective on life. You might be thinking, “But as a person of faith isn’t it my job to share it with others?”
Yes, but not the five. They should already be people who are on that journey of faith. They could be behind you, beside you or in front of you. The point is that they are with you on that journey. Remember, your five should be causing you to grow and develop, to be better. So they should at least have the same overarching worldview that you have.
2.) Make sure they are Inspiring and not demotivating. That’s important. There are some people that are miserable, all the time. Everything is negative and they turn most situations into a problem and sometimes even a crisis. Yes, we all have difficult moments, days and even weeks. But don’t hang around those who seem to do that for a living or have reduced it to an art!
3.) Make sure they have similar Values. This is closely related to the first but deserves its own category. Operating from a set of values helps one make important decisions. Being around those with similar values about marriage, child rearing, members of the opposite sex, etc., makes all the difference. Why so important? There’s an ancient saying that was posed as a question by the Apostle Paul. He said, “…Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)
4.) Make sure they have Emotional intelligence. The people in your five should be smart, but you must really be concerned about their EQ (Emotional Quotient). Emotional Intelligence has 5 spokes that make up the EI/EQ wheel. They are Self Awareness, Self Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills. No one does it perfectly and each of us has a part of the wheel that is out of balance at times. But solid emotional intelligence will also challenge you for the better and help to both create and continue a healthy friendship for a long time.
So who are YOUR current five? Write them down. Once you do, take a look at them in light of these four areas. Don’t look for perfection but rather progress. And while you are looking at them, make sure you evaluate the most important person of all in the friendship and/or relationship – you.
Having “the five” in your life is important but being one of “the five” to someone else? It’s an honor. So be for them what you want them to be for you.
F – Faith
I – Inspiring
V – Value
E – Emotional Intelligence/EQ