Drop the Anchors
Until we reach the point in our self-development where we no longer allow people to affect us with their negativity, it’s best to avoid toxic people at all costs. They will hold us back with their victim mentality and mediocre standards.
To identify which relationships are draining you, make a list of all people you spend time with on a regular basis. Go through the list and put a minus sign (-) next to the people who are negative and toxic. Put a plus sign (+) next to the people who are positive and nurturing.
Then stop spending time with the people on the negative list! If you don’t believe that is possible – for example, if you are surrounded by negative people at work – do your best to dramatically decrease the amount of time you spend with them.
Identify Your Best Investments
The first thing to explore is the feeling of “have to.” Remember, there are no “have to’s” or “shoulds” in life. There are only “choose to’s.” We get to choose where we invest our time and energy – and that includes determining which relationships we want to maintain.
“Have to” indicates that our motivation to maintain the relationships is based on fear. But to create greater success, we want to make decisions that are motivated by joy and excitement, as well as our purpose and goals.
We are equipped with a handy inner guidance system that tells us when we are making decisions that are in alignment with our higher good: Joy. When we are not spending a lot of time feeling joyful, it is a clear sign that we are off course.
Review your list of relationships again, this time with a different set of criteria. Identify the people who bring you the greatest joy, as well as financial and professional success. Which relationships are critical to your bottom line? Which people are you most excited to spend time with? Which people are most important for you to keep in touch with? These are the relationships to cultivate.
Dan Sullivan, president of the Strategic Coach, teaches his clients to identify their top 20 relationships, as well as a “farm team,” which are 20 additional relationships that should be nurtured as future additions to the Top 20. Create this list for yourself, using joy as the measuring stick for personal relationships and bottom-line success for professional relationships.
Once your key relationships are identified, put the names into a chart, with the names prioritized in the first column. In the second column, add contact information so that it is readily available when you want to reach out to one of these key contacts. In the third column, answer the question, “What result(s) do I want to achieve with this person in the next 90 days?” Do you want them to hire you? Attend your seminar? Buy your book? Send referrals to you? Use this chart to guide your actions over the next three months as you nurture the key relationships.
You Get to Choose
Remember that you get to choose not only which relationships you want to nurture, but also how close each relationships will be and how you will stay connected.
As world-renowned marine artist Wyland once said, “There are two types of people – anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors because the motors are going somewhere and they’re having more fun. The anchors will just drag you down.” Carefully choose the relationships in which you invest your precious time and energy to ensure that your success isn’t slowed … and so that you experience a positive return on your investment.