If you are the only one among your friends with forward momentum; you need a broader circle of friends. You cannot be the lone Outlier visualizing, planning, and this is key Doing – it’s not productive or healthy for you or your relationships. I only learned the necessity of engaging, encouraging, expansive friendships after my circle became increasingly one dimensional.

For years I vested positive energy into friendships that did not respond in kind.  As odd as it sounds, my healthy relationships fortified me to maintain those less than so. Through life circumstances, however, I lost contact with many of my progressive friends.  Adjourned with people whose levels of passion, pursuit, and commitment significantly differed from mine made me realize I was in too deep.

Recently, I was encouraged when I saw an interview with an 17 year old, high-achieving, valedictorian from an underperforming high school who attributed her academic and personal success to distancing herself from friends who were not as positive, focused, and diligent. Out of the mouths of babes. How many of us could have benefited from this insight at 17?  The goods news it’s never too late to reboot.

I’m not advocating severing true relationships; to the contrary a good friend is more valuable than a startup’s stock options. I always have and will champion healthy, honest, authentic friendships where everyone is encouraged and supported.  I am strongly suggesting that your inner circle of friends should be reflective of who you are now. Your relationships should be as broad, progressive, and productive as you are.

Why does anyone stay in unhealthy relationships on any kind? Fear of not belonging has to be top of the pyramid – was for me.  And who can easily chose to redefine relationships rooted in your backstory.  But your relationships must be relevant to your present and future. You as an individual are either growing or waning an it’s the same with your relationships.

So how do you expand your circle of influence to align with your authentic self?  I’m glad you asked!

There are local, national, international organizations, advocate communities, support and affinity groups for everything under the sun. Join one or more.  It’s easier to connect with people of similar interests. My suggestion is that you join a group with in-person, face-to-face activities and not just an online presence.  Nothing beats human interaction!

Join a professional organization associated with your field of work or study.

Start your own like-minded group on sites like MeetUp, MEETin , SureToMeet – get the picture.

Don’t discount your colleagues both in the workplace and your industry. (I can hear some of you sigh at the thought of spending even more time with people at work.) But think about common denominators: age, education, income, life experience, goals.

Attend group classes, tournaments, travel excursions for your favorite sports, hobbies, self-guided studies.

Join an affinity group. Let your political, religious, educational, geographical, social identity guide your path to new people.

Volunteer with local charities of interest, community events, your kids’ curriculum and extracurricular activities.

If you are not getting as much as you put in to your relationships, DO something about it.

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