Too Much Like Me

Many of us face a problem when it comes to building our personal and professional networks.

We fill them with people who are too much like us.

On the surface that doesn’t sound like a big deal. Wouldn’t you want to surround yourself with people you like and would ideally get along with? Assuming of course you get along with yourself.

Why not have people in our network that are just like us? Us is good! I mean look at us, we rock!

Now who am I to argue with your assessment of yourself.  You do probably rock. But your network doesn’t need more of you. It needs something different.

Your personal and professional network should have diversity. It should be filled with people who have different life and work experiences than you do. It should be filled with people who challenge, inspire and motivate you. People who are different than you.

“Familiarity can blind you” – Author unknown

When we surround ourselves with people who hold the same world views as we do we rob ourselves from critical perspective and completely new ways of thinking about things. If we are card carrying Republicans who surround ourselves with only other card carrying Republicans we’ll never be exposed to new ideas or alternative ways of thinking. If you happen to be a CPA or lawyer and the only people you spend time with are the same, then every idea, every point of view or perspective will be encased in that same school of thought.

Whether it’s our professional, our religious, political or social views, surrounding ourselves with only like-minded people stifles our growth and limits us in so many ways. It may seem comfortable but more often than not, comfortable is boring.

We should strive to surround yourself with people who bring new color to our world. People who have experienced life from a different angle. People who have been successful and who have failed. We should welcome any and all perspectives into our network of connections and drink from the fountain of wisdom and experience that each unique person offers.

I have tried to surround myself with people who constantly challenge my way of thinking and my foundational view on so many things. I’ve filled my network with people who have vastly different life and work experiences than my own and I call upon them regularly for advice, guidance and counsel. I’ve opened new pathways for learning new skills, becoming more “grounded” emotionally and spiritually and found new direction and purpose in a great many things.

My network did that for me.

Sure it doesn’t happen overnight and you can’t just wish these new connections to magically appear and suddenly be there for you. You have to make them happen. You have to identify people you want to have in your network, cultivate and grow the relationships in order for them to be there for you in a pinch. But if you will take the time to fill your network with people who vastly different than you, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn about yourself and just how much you will expand your universe. It will amaze you.

Ripple On!!!

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