Going after great creative goals and living life to your core values is hard, really hard. Often times it will feel like you’re going against the grain because pursuing things bigger than yourself is not the normative path people take. It looks foreign to many observing you and can leave you open to criticism and unwanted advice that isn’t good for you. I’m telling you this here, but it’s really something I need to remind my own self daily, so take it from me—pursuing BHAG goals is hard.
Many say that I am “successful” because I’ve accomplished some things, but it’s not a walk in the park. People don’t see the behind-the-scenes of the hard work I do. I’ve been criticized and shut down more times than I can count. I’ve had people whom I thought were important to me tell me I can’t have my own business, my grand ideas are not going to go anywhere, I do too much work that cannot possibly be fun in their eyes, or that I should be doing x-y-z instead of what I’m doing at the moment. People can be so harsh, right?
And can I get real here—Sometimes I find that I say these things to myself even more so. Often times, we are our own worst critic.
But even when the hardest criticisms are coming at me, there’s one thing I’m so grateful for in having—and that’s my life team. I have an amazing life team. I’ve gotten through to the other side of so many difficult challenges and gained so many joyful wins because they’ve been by my side. I choose to not go through my journey alone and intentionally seek these mentors and role models out. It’s a choice I make continuously.
Get the Right People on Your Bus
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about getting the right people on your bus in order to take your business and team to the next level, a level beyond mediocre. The same is true for your life circles. Get the right people on your bus so you can get to your desired destination.
You don’t need to recruit the people giving you advice that you didn’t ask for. You don’t need to recruit the people giving you guidance that you know is not authentically good for you. You’re the team captain of your life. Recruit the team players you want in order to have a winning season. Recruit your own star players.
So who can you recruit to be on your team? Anyone, but choose wisely. Here are a few traits to consider when recruiting your life team:
- Recruit people who are great listeners, understand you well, and help you to reframe perspective of any thinking patterns that may be holding you back from meeting your greatest potential.
- Recruit people who aren’t quick to just go along and agree with you, but they respect you enough to know how to appropriately share disagreements for the benefit of your learning opportunity. Being comfortable in sharing constructive dialogue is so key.
- Recruit people who help guide you into making your own decisions rather than tell you what to do instead. Some of my greatest recruits let me fall knowing I’ll survive it, and then we communicate the lessons of it afterward. They don’t protect me from failing but support me through the good and bad, and they provide a safe space to debrief on it afterward so I can grow and do better next time.
- Recruit people who push you to go forward but also respect your pace of learning. Patience is a good quality to have, and to also have within yourself.
- Recruit people who have great wisdom, experiences, and lessons to share. Have them be people you admire, who are good role models and who inspire you to become better and never give up. You need these people in your view to help you stay encouraged and dig deeper when you think there’s nothing left in the tank. The mere thought of these people can be enough to get you back on track if you find yourself veering off path.
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever.” Amy PoehlerAmy Poehler
While you will learn a lot from the people you recruit, understand that it’s a better balance when they too can learn from you. It’s a two-way, not one-way learning experience. It’s a team.
You may expect your family and friends to be recruited, but not everyone is fortunate to have this support system. I have found that my best recruiting has been of people outside the expectation of support, and some people I have never even met or ever will. Some people I’ve recruited to be on my life team throughout various seasons of my life have been mentors, a life and business coach, a therapist, health professionals, sports coaches and athletes, neighbors and community members, podcast hosts, authors, music artists, pastors and spiritual influencers, teachers and instructors, colleagues, speakers, and so many more role models I look up to.
Who do you look up to?
Each team member will come and go in their appropriate season of time, and new team members will join throughout your journey. Because of this, I often find it valuable to journal the important things you have learned as a way to reflect on when you may need to revisit these lessons.
You Are Who You Surround Yourself With
You can surround yourself with positive people or negative. You can surround yourself with go-getters or bare-minimum work ethics. You can surround yourself with people who will push you to be better or with people who want to keep you static in order to keep their insecurities at bay.
Place yourself in a position to call out to your team when you need it. That may look like grabbing a cup of coffee with a mentor, listening to a music playlist from your favorite artist, opening a book from your knowledgeable authors…whatever the case may be, don’t go through your journey alone. Get some amazing, positive, and inspirational people on your bus. It will keep you going, teach you gratitude, and help you go after your goals with more courage.
Who’s riding with you?
And here’s another thought: who is recruiting you to be on their team? Be that positive role model for someone else too.