Your Circle Wants To Keep You Encircled

Your Circle Wants To Keep You Encircled

Your carnivore friends won’t understand when you tell them that you’ve decided to give up eating meat. Or when your drinking buddies find out that you’ve quit drinking. They’ll just see you as weird. Or going through a phase.

But when your actions show them you’re serious, tensions will inevitably rise.

Tension is a force which breaks things. In these scenarios it will either break your commitment to eating only veggies, break your resolve to embrace sobriety, or it will break the Circle which needs you to remain who you are.

Circles. Our own tribal communities built upon common bonds. The influence our Circles have on us is quite strong. Standards, expectations, and compliance. Circles aren’t typically an encouraging place to grow or change. Your Circle wants you to stay in the Circle, gravitationally pulling and pressuring you to remain exactly as you already are. That’s why you’re in the Circle.

The growth you want requires joining a different Circle.

That’s a huge factor as to why many people choose to never grow. They feel safe and even somewhat obligated to their Circle. They fear being ostracized so they stay exactly where they are to maintain exactly who they are. Even if remaining exactly who they are no longer serves them. Because that’s what the Circle demands.

You’d think personal growth and the changes that come with it would be a universally supported ideal. After all, we do want those who matter most to thrive and live their best lives. Don’t we?

Or perhaps our true motives are far more self serving?

Unfortunately personal growth often comes with a healthy dose of raised eye brows and resentment. As if your personal growth is some sort of de facto pronouncement that the life you’ve built within your existing Circle is now somehow not good enough for you. You’ve rejected them, they’d surmise, and rejection is never very well received by the rejected. Their resentment and hostility can even lead us to question our own worthiness of attempting to become anything more than what we already are, which, inevitably, will keep us in the Circle.

At some point you’ll find yourself at a crossroads. Will you remain loyal to who you’ve always been and to your Circle, or has your loyalty shifted toward who it is you know you were created to become?

Leaving stagnant Circles for new growth Circles isn’t easy. We are creatures of habit. We crave the comfort and safety of the familiar, even if the familiar is keeping us from creating the life we know we are capable of living. But finding a Circle to support our growth and evolution is extremely beneficial. We do become more of who it is we surround ourselves with.

Most of the important growth I’ve experienced in my life has come from finding Circles aligned with my vision of what I wanted to create for me. As my vision has evolved, so has my need to find Circles which support my evolution. New people, new situations, new opportunities…all located in unfamiliar places outside of my existing Circles. And as uncomfortable as stepping outside of the familiar can be, staying within the limiting Circles of “What Is” comes with it’s own degree of discomfort. Consciously deciding that comfortable stagnation is preferred over stepping into your own growth is the perfect garden for the seeds of regret to grow in.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced enough regrets to know that I have no intentions of create any new ones.

In our ever-connected world, finding new Circles is significantly easier than at any other point in history. Whatever it is you wish to become or experience there are those who are also walking a similar path, who’ve shared a similar experience, who are willing to support and encourage, to collectively help move their Circle closer to who it is they wish to become.

Is your Circle moving you closer to who it is you want to be?

Moving forward. Staying put.

There’s a circle for each one.

Which Circle will you be a part of?

Photo by Pablo Guerrero on Unsplash

The Environment of Growth

The Environment of Growth

“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” – Mark Ambrose

It’s been about a year now since I joined a gym. Not from a desire to become a body builder; rather, to regain some of the muscle mass we all lose as we age. Preventative maintenance of sorts.

I’d never been in a gym environment before. Certainly, I had heard of the gym being a place full of performance enhancing substances and people looking to hook up with each other. That’s not something I had any interest in, nor have I seen any evidence of either.

Mostly the gym is full of individuals who pretty much keep to themselves, there to take care of their own fitness goals and then they just leave.

I have had plenty of false starts attempting to gym at home. Weights, dumbbells, exercise bike, treadmill. For some reason, though, I never was able to stick with my home routine. I’d dabble, watch the DVD’s I bought on how to transform myself in 90 days, yet I never quite got transformed. I never stuck with it long enough for that to happen.

I guess the living room wasn’t such a great environment.

As I’ve observed the gym life for the past year, what I’ve seen is a great many of people just trying to get better. Better at their physical conditioning, whatever their individual goals may be.

Me? I’m there taking care of me.

And the environment has been a key component in me taking care of me.

Fitness doesn’t happen by itself. It takes a great deal of work, consistency, and commitment. In the gym, you can easily see those who’ve made the commitment. An environment of committed growth is quite infectious. The energy is different. It collectively breeds more growth. That’s what I’ve found at the gym. No one is judging, they’re busy doing. Big bodies, small bodies, young bodies, and old bodies. Everyone silently goes about their business of working toward their own personal targets, surrounded by others driven to do the same.

All of our environments influence us. The productive ones as well as the stagnant ones. This is true for friendships and relationships as well. Our circle matters. Our community matters. Seldom will we ever outperform the collective expectations of our circle or community. Surrounding yourself with others who share a common goal, outcome, or vision greatly increases the probability that you’ll hit your own goal, outcome or vision.

If you want to grow, place yourself in an environment populated with people who are actually growing, who are doing the work, who are actually in a position to support your growth, who actively encourage your growth.

Growth isn’t always easy, especially when surrounded by those driven by, well, nothing.

Does your environment support who it is you desire to be?

Perhaps it’s time to find a better circle?

Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

This Is How I Will Make America Great Again

This Is How I Will Make America Great Again

Someone says we need to make America great again.

America has never stopped being great. But we can always make it greater.

The real question which needs to be answered is who is going to make it happen?

America in 2016 is torn, angry, frustrated, partisan, and divided, fueled in great part by the train wreck of this year’s presidential elections. Many have profited politically from perpetuating a culture of “Us vs Them”, where being offended has become some sort of birthright and there’s always someone to blame for your unhappiness. Not that long ago America had room for compromise and intelligent rational conversations but now working Continue reading “This Is How I Will Make America Great Again”

Pondering The Power of Encouragement

Pondering The Power of Encouragement

I wasn’t sure he was going to make it. He was an elderly man attempting to complete today’s 5k race. His face and body were drained by the course, further impacted by the high heat and oppressive humidity. Many who had gathered on the side of the course began to shout words of encouragement as he fought his way to the finish line. He managed to share a little smile as he made the final turn on his way finishing the race.

There is a real sense of community surrounding organized road racing. Hundreds of people, from kids to grandparents, with hours of training mostly in solitude come together and turn 3.1 miles into more of a celebration of the common bond they all share. One defining Continue reading “Pondering The Power of Encouragement”