It is difficult to evaluate the value of everything or everyone I come across each day. Unless I am going to cut myself off from the world, people, and their messages, I will be relentlessly bombarded. My conclusion is that I control very little of these outside influences so I must possess some tools to interpret both the message and the messenger.
You cannot control how many messages you hear, but you can control how you respond to them. If you want to control their influence on your life, you must determine your response before they bury you.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares your values, dreams, or has your best interest in mind. This is not always obvious when you first meet someone. It can get more confusing when that person is not clear about his or her own motives. The best intentions do not always carry through to the relationship. How do you qualify the people and ideas that are worth your investment? How do you protect yourself from negative influencers? What guards do you have in place to protect yourself? It is easy to be caught up in the euphoria of a new opportunity or new idea. Yet, it is imperative to protect yourself.
Here are my thoughts regarding steps you can take when evaluating who you should allow to influence you.
- The first place to start is to understand your own values. A person who does not take the time to establish a platform upon which to stand when the winds of opportunity come along is as helpless as a leaf blown off a tree limb. Personal values come in many forms and are attributable to how one was raised, the ideologies that form belief systems, and the impacts of culture, language, events that help shape life.
- The evidence of what is true over time. People of character and good ideas will withstand the test of time. A personal value system helps determine what is true, good, and desirable. If our value system is well thought-out, consistent, and tenable, the easier it is to identify what represents a bad influence.
- Learn who you are and what you represent. What is your cause or purpose? Why do you do what you do? Individuals who have a good sense of self-identify, coupled with a great purpose, are a powerful force. These people are confident, compelling, and contagious. They understand what they are about and can quickly identify any negative influences to discard or avoid.
- Determine the places, times, and people that are potentially the best influencers on you. Invest more time and resources in these spaces. You have heard the phrase, “nothing good happens after midnight?”. I do not propose to be the curfew police, but you might consider what represents “midnight” in your life. One sign of midnight is that which gets you in trouble, leaves you feeling discourage or depressed, prevents you from doing well, or setting aside your personal values.
- You cannot trust experience alone. This point is one of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make when seeking to fill a position. A candidate’s work experience is one of the worst predictors of future success. This can also serve as a warning to those evaluating a potential business opportunity. Just because someone else experiences wild success does not guarantee you will experience the same result. One of the biggest ploys to trap new people in a fraud is to show potential investors evidence of success and make them feel stupid for not participating. The most unheeded advice in business is, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The other side of this coin is a little phrase, “There is a sucker born every day.”
Everyone needs positive influences in their life that consist of great people, solid ideas, and good opportunities. Finding those opportunities can be challenging. Establishing the steps you can use to evaluate the difference is becoming more imperative considering the vast noise the fills our heads each day.
What are some other ideas to evaluate positive influencers?