“Show me your friends… and I’ll show you your future.” Tom Basson

“Show me your friends...and I’ll show you your future.” - Tom Basson

As a lifelong student of success, I’ve always been enamored with exploring why some people who possess what seem to be all the tools to create a massively successful, high impact life often seem to fade into mediocrity while others who, by comparison, start out with much less go on to rise to the top.

Although there are no clear cut answers, I’ve encountered some refreshingly helpful insights, one of which was shared by Tom Basson and involves harnessing the power of relationships. The big idea:

You become over time the average of your five closest friends.
Think about it. Who you allow into your life will ultimately shape your identity — and your destiny. So choose them wisely, and follow these three keys to managing your relationships to build your personal brand…  and secure your future:

1. Take a Social Inventory
Tom suggests the following exercise: Take a large piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle. Put your name in the circle and then draw lines coming from the center circle to create other circles in which you write the names of the people closest to you. Once you finish, ask yourself some tough questions:

• How many of these relationships can I realistically maintain?
• Which relationships are good for me, and which aren’t?
• Which relationships do I need to pursue for my own health and happiness?
• Which relationships do I feel God is nudging me to pursue?

The truth is, all your relationships are heading somewhere so when it comes to friendship, be intentional – don’t just wait for friends to fall into your lap. Pursue them. Surround yourself with friends who have the characteristics you’d like to develop in yourself. After all, your closest friends are who you’re becoming.

2. Be Present
Presence matters. There is power in physical presence. Comfort and compassion can only really be conveyed by physical presence, not through social media. It’s far more difficult and demanding, but it is also far more meaningful.

Being present means establishing a habit of availability to others — that is, it is something we choose to do and practice doing. So choose to be present.

3. Be Open
Being “open” can mean many things, but for me, in terms of approaching friendships, being open is about being vulnerable with those around you and telling people the truth behind what’s really going on in your life. Brené Brown, an expert on vulnerability, says that while “we may impress people with our strengths, we connect with people through our weaknesses.”

Being open means being brave enough to take off the mask and ask for help when you need it most.

Remember, the person you will be five to ten years from now will be shaped by the people that influence you the most — your closest friends.

Do you agree? If so, how would you “score” on the social inventory? Are your closest relationships growing you, depleting you, or leaving you the same? Leave me your comments… I’d love to know.