The Person You Will Be in 5 years, Part 3: The People You Spend Time With

As I sit here typing this, I realized the amount of change that has happened in this specific area of my life over the years. When you are young[er] you may focus on people that share similar environments to you as people that you want to spend time with. This is a time of convenience – your next-door neighbor is close so you develop a relationship with them – sometimes this works out and sometimes not! Not that I ever filled hot wheels cars with gasoline, lit them on fire, and rolled them down a makeshift ramp into the lake with my next-door neighbor or anything! As you grow and change, your relationships become based on your activities and “likes.” You may befriend members of your baseball or golf team or other groups where you share like activities. But as you move further into adulthood, the level of relationship begins to shift not based on activities or proximity, but on ultimately the level of trust you have with your most valuable internal drives. Knowing where Jay Vallotton’s mindset is here helps with understanding the reason this is on the list. In his “circle” relationships just aren’t simple friendships – they are relationships in which vision is born, modeled, achieved, and in some cases harmed.

Basic Trust

Everything in our lives orbits around the concept of trust. Trust is something that doesn’t simply come with time but with experiences and with emotional growth. There are a number of studies and psychological papers written on the ideas around where trust was built and where trust was broken. The growth of trust is also linear and staged in nature meaning one must complete certain aspects of trust before moving on. Trust does not “progress with age” but rather one can be 35 years old and still stuck trying to achieve “reliance trust.” (I’ll link to a presentation/keynote I did years back about “Team Growth as rated to Trust.”) As we progress, our relationships shift and change, and the way we interact with people changes. Understanding basic trust helps us to be more equipped for the future and the relationships we build.

Relationships and Vision

I like pictures and colors. Ask anyone who knows me and you will find out that not only do I like to graph and present digitally, but my office has a 27-drawer cabinet full of arts and crafts including markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc. So, it should be of little surprise that I use a color graph to explain the next point:

The ability to ascertain where people fall in relation to trust and the vision for your life will impact where you are in the years to come. Let’s do a quick rundown:

  • Build – there are very few people that should be in this circle as not only influence you but bring direction and are foundational to the vision that you [will] carry. When hard decisions are made, that happens together. The energy and the outcomes are shared from the vision with folks in this circle. It is so small that sometimes it will be you and a spouse or a business partner only.
  • Achieve – these are the people that are not just “good friends” with you or whom you enjoy spending time with. These friends are those that challenge your misconceptions and push you to be awesome, even when you try everything not to be (not that I have experience with that). They bring “accountability” or hold you to account for /remind you of your abilities/your awesomeness.
  • Share – relationships at this level are those that you feel comfortable sharing what is going on in your life and your vision with. You are ok with the good and the bad because the relationships built here are based on mutual care and respect. Good news is celebrated and bad news is mourned AND protected. Relationships here should never revel in your loss. If they do, they belong in the next circle.
  • Protect – While the first three circles are positive, unfortunately, this last one isn’t. I do wish that the world was a different place, but there are people whom you will spend time with who you will need to protect the vision. I have even realized (too late) that this was a manager or even a family member. This isn’t to say that you should “cut them out of your life” but they may need to watch you from the peripheral, learning through observation about what is going on rather than direct involvement. This isn’t bad! And this isn’t selfish! This is about setting the right boundaries for both parties!

Choose Wisely But Also Being Ready to Shift

As you set the stage for the people in your life, this isn’t some scientific or cold-hearted decision-making process. This is life, this is time, this is relationship, this is vulnerability! One of the hardest things is vulnerability AND at the same time setting boundaries. There are times when people slide between these different circles and it is ok. The point is that you are aware and that you don’t put crazy pressure on people. This is for you to understand and for you to somewhat internalize. I hope this article helps. I feel like it is more of the start of a conversation rather than a “definitive guide” to anything. Maybe this is one of those topics that are just sort of looked at and thought about? What do you think?

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