I once read that we are each the sum total of the five people with whom we spend the most time. If you’re like me, you’re taking an instant inventory of those people and wondering if this statement is actually true.

Test it out and see. With whom do you spend the most time? And, how would you characterize those people? Are they upbeat, optimistic, and happy — the kind of people who light up a room the moment they enter? Or, are they the kind of people who instantly drain your energy, leaving you with a feeling of worry and upset with nearly every interaction? Perhaps they’re somewhere in between. (Perhaps you are too.)

I didn’t pay attention to such things in my youth. I didn’t have concern for who lifted me up or brought me down. Or, who I was lifting up or bringing down for that matter. It was more about appearances. Which circle would give me the best chance of fitting-in, of having a sense of belonging?

As We Grow Up, We “Show Up”

The wonderful thing about growing older is that it matters less and less what people think of me. Imagine: they’ll think what they want to think, and say what they want to say, whether I like it or not. Talk about a revelation!

And so the people I surround myself with today are not there for the purpose of “keeping up appearances” or providing a means to an end.

They’re people who inspire me to be my best, who hold my agenda without concern for their own (an incredibly rare and precious gift), who lift me up on days that feel most heavy, who see things in me that I cannot see in myself, who delight in the simple things, who stand in a place of observation rather than judgment, and live and breathe the space of unconditional love.

So, who’s in your circle of five? And how do they reflect who you are in the world?

Are you in the “fit in at any cost” circle? The “I’ve got it going on” circle? The “don’t mess with me” circle? Perhaps it’s the circle of “world peace” or the “simple pleasures matter most” circle.

Close the Loop 

I simply invite you to check-out your circle of five and see how it resonates with who you are and what’s important to you.

As awesome as the power of choice is, we often draw people into our lives based on the energy we emit in the world – both positive and negative — as opposed to making definitive choices.

If your circle doesn’t feel quite right, check your energy level and re-draw your circle, if necessary. There’s no right or wrong. There’s just this subtle realization that you’ve perhaps drawn the perfect circle when a fab five makes you feel like a million.

Cindy Gardner, MBA, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP, CLDS, CTDS, is Vice President of Faculty Development & Program Delivery for the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), where she spends time both in and out of the classroom, developing faculty, training students, and guiding people on an unforgettable journey of coming to know themselves…deeply. Cindy began her career in corporate, working in Sales & Marketing for such Fortune 500 companies as Bristol-Myers Squibb, AT&T, and Lucent Technologies. With an undeniable calling into the world of human potential, she naturally stepped into the coaching arena where she also guides women on a profound journey of self-discovery to unleash their voice (powerfully, purposefully, and confidently) within her private coaching practice.

To learn more, please visit cindygardner.com


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