Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Importance of Surrounding Yourself with the Right People

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I've only been in Ohio 8 months. Making new friends in a new town where you know no one is not easy; however, surrounding yourself with the right people is critical to your ability to overcome adversity. Oprah says it best:

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down" - Oprah Winfrey

Last night I had a small party for friends from my church. I was fortunate to have a group of people who enjoyed themselves to the fullest without any air or pretense or expectation. Laughter came easily. We all felt comfortable in each other's presence. It was a wonderful feeling.

Are you feeling alone? Join a church. Become a member of Toastmasters if you want to be a better public speaker. What about local civic groups including but not limited to Kiwanis, Lion's or Rotary clubs? They provide wonderful networking as well new friendship opportunities.

When you go to these functions, go with the mindset of helping others. Become a matchmaker and bring people together without any expectation of return. Believe me, if you let go and let God, you will experience incredible abundance in return; however, you must make sure your heart is in the right place - otherwise the universal law of giving and receiving will not be complete.

How can you tell if they are genuine? Watch their behavior. I ask myself the following questions about people who come into my life (and be sure to put yourself in another person's shoes asking the same questions about you!).

Listen to how they speak. When you hold a conversation with them, is it all one-way? Or do they take time to listen to you? Do they appear to have your heart at interest when they're really trying to make a name for themselves? How do they treat you - with respect or do they treat you like a child?

Are they controlling and manipulative? When you confront them about this behavior, do they try to turn things around by saying that they were "just kidding" or make it look like it was your fault or say you're "imagining things?"

Are they willing to listen to your constructive criticism and take them at heart?

When you make a suggestion, do they act condescending or do they respect your opinions?

Are their behaviors congruent with what they say? Do they maintain integrity? Do they do what they say?

Do they really care about your achievements or do they appear jealous? Are they constantly telling you to see the big picture when they themselves aren't seeing it?

Listen to your intuition about the other person. If you feel a tightening of your stomach, your heart picks up a beat and you feel drained when around a certain person, your spirit is trying to tell you something. Listen to it. You may have to let go of that person with love. Find a way to move on without burning any bridges.

Let me ask you: Are your friends willing to take the bus with you when things go down the tubes?
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