I had a client a few years ago who is a talented performer but felt that he had hit a ceiling, and couldn’t imagine going further in his career. I asked him a lot of questions about how he was spending his time and whom he was spending it with. This client was very hard working and put a lot of great writing and music out into the world. To the outside, he seemed to be successful, but inside he felt stuck. When I asked him, “What’s going to help you to break through to the next level?” he mentioned sheepishly that he had surpassed a lot of his friends, who preferred to hang out and complain about what wasn’t working, as opposed to supporting each other in going for their dreams. I reminded him that if you leave feeling shamed or drained by your so-called friends, it’s time to raise your standards.
As business philosopher, Jim Rohn, once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Some of us have dreams we haven’t taken seriously because the people around us are too busy expecting us to be there for them, or to just sit around and be stuck, because that will make them feel better. Making changes and going to the next level of success can be very tough, because it sometimes means making new choices about how you spend your time and with whom. If people expect you to be the friend who is always there for them and you’re now working 24/7 to finally get that novel done or to launch the new business, they may be hurt. This is where setting kind but firm boundaries and saying no more often is helpful. If we don’t set those boundaries that allow for our dreams to flourish, we can easily get pulled back into what is comfortable and easy–which is not writing, not working, not achieving. We want to be the good friend, the caring parent, the helpful person who never says no. But is it worth it, just so that we can be the person who is always there no matter what for everyone?
At the end of your life, do you want to have gone for your dreams or pleased everyone around you? You get to choose, but it’s not possible to do both. The family and friends who really care about you will respect your new boundaries and cheer you on as you say yes to yourself, one step at a time. The others will fall away. In order to move to your world stage, you have to consciously choose who gets to come with you and whom you need to leave behind. So this week, raise your standards for what you can and will achieve and notice who is still standing beside you.