Are you surrounded by fans or critics?  In other words, are your closest relationships there to help you up or tear you down?  Don’t we beat ourselves up enough?  Shouldn’t we surround ourselves with people that are pulling for US?
Have you ever seen a bucket full of crab?  I haven’t either, but stick with me.  I have a point… I’m told that the crab can never get out of the bucket.  When one does look like it’s about to break free… the others pull him/her back down with the rest of them.
We are creatures that need others, period!  We want and need to be lifted up and supported, not pulled back down.  Now don’t get me wrong, we need people that challenge us, too.  We DON’T need a bunch of loony FANS kissing our backside on every crazy thing we do, but mentors and accountability partners that understand and care about what we are endeavoring to do.  We are our own _ _ _ _ _ enemy.  Fill in the blank.  Yes, the word missing is WORST.  Fully 80% of our shortcomings lie within us.  There it is again, that 80/20 rule that applies to everything!
So, how do we pick who we are surrounded by?  We don’t.  They often pick us… unfortunately.  But we CAN pick our Strategic Alliances or our own Board of Directors.  We do it by listening to the very thing that sounds hungry a lot…our gut.  Does it growl because it needs a double cheeseburger from micky d’s? (a personal favorite of mine, btw…) NO!  It’s hankering for relationships that support our purpose, vision, and mission.  After our gut, we then follow 4 questions.  All questions surround these 4 thoughts.  Budget, Timing, Need, and Relationship or BTNR.
Budget is easy.  Can you afford to hang out with them financially, mentally, physically, spiritually and so on?  Timing is a measurement of whether it is the right time in their life or business to be around you.  Do they have a need to ‘strategize’ with you. (Stategize is a made-up word from the root word, “strategery”… also a made-up word by President George W. Bush and made even more famous by Will Farrell in the early 2000s)  Where are they in their own walk of life/business/etc.?  And the mother of all questions… relationship.  Do you like this person and do THEY like you?  This is the most important piece!  Remember the first part of this article?  Life’s too short to play/work with people who don’t like you and are there to be a “crab” all the time.

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