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A couple years ago, I met up with an old friend. It was one of those meet ups where you know better, but you follow through for nostalgic reasons. In the past 4–5 years, my circle of “friends” has gone from pretty large, to medium, to now relatively small.

Maybe it was Drake who so eloquently stated, “I got a small circle, I’m not with different crews” — yep, that just happened.

Looking back at a time when I had a larger circle, I’m not sure how many I would actually categorize as “real” friends.

My requirements for a friend these days are quite rigorous, and just because we had a connection in the past doesn’t mean much anymore.

You can call it changing, growing or simply:

Raising your fucking standards.

Environment Matters

As I stated above, what I look for in connections, friendships and even one-time associations (or as Fight Club calls them, single serving friends) has grown exponentially.

If you don’t fit the bill, I’m out — and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way but rather, in a way that I respect my time and your time enough to not waste it.

There’s a universal law that states that nature abhors a vacuum — simply put, if you don’t your life with positive, inspiring people that push you to grow then it’ll be filled with whatever’s left.

Usually that’s going to be the lowest common denominator, which are negative, scarcity-minded, gossip practicing people.

Let’s face it. It doesn’t matter how driven or passionate you are…environment matters.

I can take the most positive, uplifting person and insert them in a room with 99 negative, pissed off people.

The first day, week or couple months they may be the same person — but check back in a year and there is no doubt they would have taken on other’s energy, worldview and habits.

Redefining Friendship

We all need to be hanging around people who challenge, support, inspire, question and connect with us on deeper levels.

From a biological standpoint, we understand we are primed for growth at the union of support and challenge.

Having a circle that supports what you do and lifts you up is important.

Even more so, having those that hold you accountable and see your potential so intensely and vividly that they’ll ask the tough questions…that’s power.

Demanding our friends call us out is the ultimate sign of respect and ultimately — love.

This means if I told someone that I would launch a new business or get a certain guest on my Podcast and it hasn’t happened — I want them to ask me why.

And I know they won’t believe my excuses or stories.

We have each other’s backs, in a very real way — that’s rare these days.

Go To Your Inspiration

Going to a bar to watch a sports game with a bunch of dudes to complain about relationships, work and life just doesn’t cut it for me…at all.

If that’s your cup of tea right, it’s all good, but ask yourself:

Does this serve me?

Years ago, I found out I can’t fake that anymore.

Instead, I’ll crush a hike in nature with someone who I can have an open discussion about aspirations, current challenges or roadblocks.

Or we’ll experience an event together and talk about spirituality, business, how it can be applied to our lives.

Maybe we’ll hit an an intense workout and get on a whiteboard and ask tough questions about where we’re going in life and see if we can find some new perspective.

Dude, What Drug Are You On?

Let’s get back to the meet up with the old friend, whom I met for lunch.

I’m always hesitant with these meetings, because talking about the past and reliving the glory days is something I’m over.

I’ve got too much to be excited about right now and I much rather talk about that.

I decided to do it because I had been working so hard on myself and my business and told my mentor I’d say yes to more social outings.

I carved out time in my schedule and decided to make it happen.

We’re sitting down, ordering food and catching up, the usual. We described what we were both doing, current projects, future plans, etc.

Without judging, let’s just say he didn’t have a ton going on in his life and seemed stuck in the prior decade.

And that’s fine too — we can’t expect everyone to be at that point all the time, everyone’s on a journey.

I got asked about what I’m doing, and I naturally lit up, spoke louder, got excited, animated, that’s the norm for me.

When you talk about something you love, you see an uptick in energy and enthusiasm no matter who you are and for me it’s like rocket fuel.

That’s what happens when you live in power, are inspired and know that the only limit on your expansion is yourself.

Halfway through the conversation as I’m detailing what I am doing he stops me and asks…

“Dude, hold on…are you on something? On some sort of drug right now?”

He was absolutely dead serious.

I was stopped halfway through a sentence and wasn’t sure how to answer.

“Uh…no, what are you talking about? I’m pumped about what I do”.

There was an awkward pause, a few moments of silence and it completely killed the conversation from that point on.

He was either so used to people who have such low energy or don’t care about anything that when I lit up it completely startled and shocked him.

To me, it was a splash of cold water in the face to wake me up to never hang out with people like that again.

Cutting The Cord

I was on a coaching call the other day and we basically agreed that…

Everyone is starving for connection.

However, we are ultimately left unfulfilled with most connections because they lack depth and conviction.

As hard as it may sound, if your network and circle are lacking right now you simply need to start cutting the cord.

Once you start create new pockets of space and energy for new people to come in, plus putting yourself in environments where they are — you’ll naturally attract them into your life.

One by one, you’ll start building up a new circle.

It takes a little time, patience and vulnerability — but trust me, it’s worth it.

I look at my circle right now and it’s full of incredible conversations, connections and those that inspire me when I’m on 3 hours sleep.

You can have that too.

Last Words

Look at your life right now.

Is there any area in which you could raise your standards or quality of your relationships?

Remember: you have the power to choose who you surround yourself with every single day.

Choose wisely.

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