I moved a lot when I was young. I mean A LOT! 13 different schools before I graduated high school. I didn’t have a chance to really surround myself with a group of friends for long enough to be too influenced by them before we moved again. But we are all influenced by those around us. As I grew up and had children of my own, I saw the powerful influence their friends had on them.
Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If you were to pause right now and truly evaluate who those people are in your life, I ask you, “Are they living lives that are BIGGER than you are or are they settled into a life that is stagnant and lacking growth or at least constant improvement? Do they sharpen you or keep you feeling dull?”
I look back and see the lives that had an influence on me—good and bad—and what I see is two types of people—those who encouraged me to live a bigger, bolder life than the one I may have thought I was ready for, and those who either encouraged me to stay with them in our comfortable little bubble or even discouraged me from wanting to move away or move up to something better for myself.
Whether it’s our family, our friends, or our coworkers, they all influence us more than we know. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to break these people into two groups–Balcony People and Basement People.
Basement People are those who are comfortable sitting most of life out. They stay down where it’s safe from storms, risky activities or even scary new people they don’t already know. They watch other people do big things but with the same mindset as they watch a show on television. It’s not real to them. They are the ones who we hear saying the following:
- “Why would you quit your good job for something that might not even happen?”
- “How will you have the time to do all of that?”
- “Wow, I could never do that.”
- “Aren’t you scared to try that?”
- “You have children … how are you going to juggle all of those responsibilities?”
- “Don’t you feel guilty leaving the kids in daycare all day?”
- “Hasn’t that ship pretty much sailed already?”
- “You can’t make money doing that?”
- “Wow, that sounds very risky.”
The first thing that strikes me is that most of these statements are spoken to women…not men. Secondly, they are spoken by people who do not have the same belief system we have. They have a limited vision for their own lives and for success in general. They live in the basement of life and they love company. You know the ones I’m talking about. You cannot spend a lot of time around these people or you will start to question your own goals, abilities, and dreams for your life. You will be sucked into a life of basement living.
Balcony people are those who encourage you to dream bigger and do bigger things than even you thought was possible. They are cheering you on and telling you not to look back at that old life. They remind you that not only can you cross the finish line that you are running toward, but they also let you know as soon as you cross it, that there are other bigger races to run.
Balcony people are looking at you from a different perspective. They are living BIG already and they see potential in you that you don’t always see in yourself. They say things like:
- “Why not?”
- “Of course, you can do that!”
- “Why not you?”
- “It’s always possible.”
- “You were born to do that.”
- “You are the perfect person for this.”
- “You’ve been completely prepared and you have what it takes.”
We need to surround ourselves with Balcony People! I’m not saying you have to completely cut off all contact with those who are not the Balcony type, but you certainly better limit your exposure to them.
Have you noticed when you attend a conference or hear people talking about the incredible things they are doing; you leave their presence feeling as if you can take on the world? On the other hand, when you are around people who are filled with doubt and limiting beliefs about their own lives, you leave exhausted and feeling bad for them and yourself.
So let’s get to know these Balcony People and be intentional about surrounding ourselves with them.
Characteristics of Balcony People
People who think and behave BIGGER than you do.
If we become the sum of the five people we hang out with, then shouldn’t we be hanging out with people who are doing things that are bigger than us? Balcony People are the ones who don’t even bat an eye when you say you are writing a book, opening a new business or that you are going to leave your job and open a SCUBA diving school in Fiji. They understand that mindset. They have big goals as well and they have spoken them into the world just like you are doing, and they get you! They are your people!
People who don’t make excuses and don’t allow you to either.
Balcony People will hold you accountable for the actions you say you’d like to take. They check up on you and remind you of why you started the race in the first place.
People who listen when you are having one of those really-bad-horribly-awful days.
But instead of encouraging you to go back to the basement, they listen, then grab your hand and help you back up on your feet and they might even help brush that dirt off your stilettos.
People who cheer you on and celebrate your WINS…large or small!
Your people are not jealous of your success. They celebrate with you and they know that they love to surround themselves with WINNERS just like YOU!
We were so determined when we started building The Village Workspace in south Denver, to create a place where Balcony People are drawn to it and where they thrive! It is a value we hold so dearly. It is something that is woven into every fiber of our being as well as every fiber of our beautiful rugs and throw pillows around the office!
Perhaps it’s time for you to make some big bold moves in life… come on…go for it! We’ll be here cheering you on from the Balcony!