Think about the ten people you are around the most.
Are they supportive? Inspiring?
Have characteristics or traits you aspire to?
Or are they vampires sucking your energy or don’t encourage you to grow as an individual?
Your friends, family, co-workers or workout buddies could be in a different place than you, resulting in pulling you to to do more and be more (yea!) or blocking your path and holding your head under water. With work, you may be really career-oriented right now while someone else is focusing on their family. You may be ready to race a marathon while your running partner can’t fathom anything more than a 10k. You want to cut off all internet and email after 7pm but your wife wants to spend an hour on Facebook or Reddit. Rarely are you going to go through your life with the people around you moving at the same pace.
I have participated in several types of sports and have trained with several people over the years. Some I have become good friends with, others were training buddies. As people progressed, regressed, changed sports, changed jobs or changed locations, I changed who I trained with. I never let a friend/training partner’s choice dictate what I was doing or hold me back in any way. If I needed to move on or find someone else, I did.
The people I gravitated toward, and still do, are considered my ‘A-Team‘. In the A-Team, one of my favorite shows from the 80s, each member had their own specialty and was respected for what they did best. I like to surround myself with people who also have a specialty, preferably one that I don’t, so that I can learn from them. I didn’t know how to paddle a few of years ago so of course I wanted a teammate that was a strong paddler. Not so that they can take more of the load, but so that I could learn from them. When I tried to learn to navigate, so I looked for someone who had an easy teaching style and patience to sit down with me.
Who is on your A-Team?
Do you surround yourself with people you can learn from?
People who are better than you at whatever aspect of your life you are trying to improve on, i.e.business, finance, public speaking, health?
Or do you like to be the best and surround yourself with the B-Team?
If you are always hanging out with benchwarmers to make yourself feel better, you’re probably going to get stuck at the level of fabulous that you are right now until you are no longer fabulous.
I used to keep my toxic relationships a lot longer then I needed to and one thing about getting older is I realize I don’t have to. If a friendship is exhausting it’s not really a friendship, it is a chore. If a work colleague is poison than trying to minimize time with them may be the only thing you can do. If it’s a family member…well, that might be a visit to a mental health counselor to prepare and to debrief! One of my goals at every race was for people to want to race with me again. Not because I am kick-ass physically, but because I am supportive, mature, and willing to make sacrifices for the team. If I am fun, charming or the best at a discipline then that is even better. It was always the same when I was a part of a team at work.
I have an A-Team for different things: Business, Racing, Finance, Relationships, Personal Growth, etc. I have a lot of people that support me but that doesn’t necessarily mean they get me. Some people may not even realize that I am looking at them in order to make myself a better person. They are on my A-Team because they inspire me organically, not because it’s something they are even trying to do.
The original version of this post appeared on Medium.