Choose Your Circles Wisely

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Whether we intend to or not, we emulate those around us. That’s why it’s so important to choose your circles wisely. Habits, mannerisms and behaviors are all contagious. In fact, Harvard researchers have found that even your risk for being overweight increases if those in your social network are obese as well.

Those we accept into our community become our mentors.

I was about to turn the last page of the March 2015 issue of Seattle Business Magazine when these words caught my eye:

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words;
Be careful of your words, for you words become your deeds;
Be careful of your deeds, for your deeds become your habits;
Be careful of your habits, for you habits become your character;
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.


I learned this the hard way as a teenager when I accidentally used colorful language in front of my mother. I was upset about something that happened at school and I said, “She’s such an a – – – – – -,” but caught myself and quickly inserted “armadillo” instead.

But it was too late. My mother wasn’t fooled, and her response to my awkward attempt at redeeming myself was this: “You better be careful with the words you use. You may end up saying something you don’t mean to in front of someone you wish you hadn’t.”

Well, clearly.

But over the course of my life I’ve learned that I’m better off being myself — colorful language and all. When we show up as ourselves, living our personal brand consistently, accepting that not everyone will like us, we’ll attract the people who are meant to be in our lives and repel the ones that aren’t.

And that’s a good thing.

Sometimes you choose your circles, and sometimes your circles choose you. But if you’ve realized that some changes to your circle are needed, here are a few tips:


Limit the time you spend with those who drain your energy or prevent you from moving toward your purpose. If you’re surrounded by negative energy it’s harder to see solutions and make the changes necessary to move forward. By limiting the investment you make in relationships that are out of alignment with your inner truth — whether they are unhealthy or disrespectful — you can focus on strengthening the relationships with others in your inner circle.


Trust your inner wisdom and spend more time with people who bring out the good in you. Surround yourself with people who encourage and inspire you to be authentic and bold, rather than those who criticize and judge you. Trust that you’ll recognize your inner circle when you meet them, and also trust that you have the ability to make adjustments as necessary to stay in alignment.


Be aware of your discomfort. If you’re saying or doing things that make you feel uncomfortable, it’s a red flag that you may need to assess the behaviors of those around you. Are you being influenced to act in a way that’s inconsistent with your values?


There are many kind ways to release connections that are no longer healthy or respectful. While ghosting has become a popular method of ending relationships these days, it’s not always the best choice. It’s possible to be clear, firm, and kind when severing ties with someone in your circle.

When you think about the people closest to you, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who’s in your circle today?
  • Do their behaviors align with your values?
  • Are they pushing you toward or away from your goals?
  • How do you feel when you’re around them?
  • Do they fill you up or drain you?
  • How are they supporting you in living your life’s purpose?

Make it a point to periodically reevaluate who you’re spending time with. And choose your circles wisely.

Thinking of making some changes to your inner circle? You’re invited to be part of the Lifestyle Design Studio, where we work through topics just like this one.

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One thought on “Choose Your Circles Wisely

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    Barb Gray says:

    I don’t remember this specific “armadillo” incident, but your insights today speak directly to me about being around people whose words and actions don’t align with my values. Thanks for the reminder!

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