How Intentional Relationships Help Professionals Understand their True Selves
A friend recently told me that as a child she had idealized looking at her reflection in small bodies of water because of stories of when characters leaned over the edge of a pond and saw a rippling version of themselves below. Turns out, she discovered, it’s not as easy to see a reflection as the characters made it seem—most of the time, when she tried, she could only make out a dark outline of her figure on the surface... something more akin to a shadow.
My friend said, eventually, she observed that a clear reflection depended on the circumstances and surroundings of the pond, where and how the light source shined, whether the water was clear and deep, whether shady trees reflected a dark backdrop for closer images, and whether the wind blew waves or the water was still.
Her anecdote reminded me of the fourth principle from A Tribe of Millionaires. The Authenticity Effect has less to do with efforts of projecting authenticity to others and more to do with cultivating your surroundings to bring out the most authentic version of yourself.
Like the Influence Effect, this principle points out another way that people who surround you affect you—they reflect you. If you pay attention, these people give you the opportunity to see yourself more clearly.
And the closer the bond, the more accurate that picture becomes.
If you consider coworkers with whom you have a casual work relationship, you will see a little bit of a reflection, like the dark outline in the pond. If you look at your closest friends and confidants, the ones you share your struggles and hopes with, you’ll get a more defined image.
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Building Trust Creates Self Awareness
Self-awareness helps you to understand your own interactions with the world around you. As a professional, it helps you to see how and why you make the decisions you make, recognizes your strengths, and maintain emotional health. Without it, you risk burning bridges, creating interpersonal misunderstandings, and ignoring your weaknesses.
Why does the strength of a bond improve the accuracy of the reflection? Because the people you trust bring out your true self. You feel like you can “be yourself” around them, and thus you influence them to become like your true self. When you have authentic relationships where you share openly about your struggles and hopes, you will begin to piece together your truest desires for life.
So before you can see your most accurate reflection, you have to learn to trust. When you trust the people around you, you'll notice that you are more yourself around them. Your authentic self comes alive.
So, choose your friends wisely! You want to have trustworthy friends, and if you can’t trust the people around you... find some new people. You don’t have to abandon the relationships you already have, but you can choose to cultivate intentional relationships with people who help you grow into a better version of yourself.
The more you are able to be your true self, not putting up walls between you and others, the more you will be able to know what you want and achieve your goals. But it starts with trust.
If sharing your struggles and hopes with people around you feels unfamiliar, take small steps to open up, trust others, and experience the authenticity that results.
Mastermind group members encourage each other to grow by providing accountability and feedback through authentic relationships. Join one to find a community that will help you achieve success by helping you move forward with your goals and see the difference it makes in your life.
3 Steps For a Clearer Reflection Through Your Relationships
If you want to find the truest reflection of yourself, look to the people closest to you. To cultivate trustworthy relationships that will benefit you, try these three steps:
1. Regularly Expand Your Circles
Make plans to meet new people, especially if the groups in your life infrequently change. Find ways to expand your social circles, whether it’s through community social events, networking, or online professional cohorts. Look into meet-ups for those with similar interests or hobbies where you can get to know all kinds of people in a casual setting.
Find friends who hold different assumptions than you and who come from different backgrounds. You will benefit from those who come to different conclusions and who come up with solutions to ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. Plus, you’ll discover more of yourself by reflecting on your differences and similarities.
2. Cultivate Trust in Your Relationships
Trust is built by shared experiences, especially the memorable kind. Though not every relationship begins with an intense occurrence, bonds will strengthen over time through common experiences.
Plan events with others to grow trust and have fun! Consider escape rooms or camping retreats for groups, or organize an outing where conversation can happen easily. Invite others to participate in your life through meals. Practice hospitality. The point is to converse and grow friendships with people who know more than you, who have achieved some goals, who come from different backgrounds, and that have different perspectives on life.
Keep in mind that to have trustworthy friends, you need to be one. Keep confidential information to yourself, and don’t spread hearsay. Remember that you want other people to trust you, too.
3. Pay Attention to the Character of the People that Surround You
Are the people around you mature? Listen to their wisdom.
Is there something you admire in a person? Pay attention to their excellent characteristics, and think about how you might grow to emulate them.
Do you see characteristics that make you cringe? Think about how you want that to reflect in your life. You can learn from others’ mistakes, but remember that negative characteristics are easy to pick up. You don’t want to find yourself entangled in gossip, lies, or unwise money habits, for instance, so if these are overarching themes in their lives, you may want to distance yourself.
Again, ridding everyone from your life you disagree with is not the goal, but consciously deciding how you allow them to affect your life is part of growing in wisdom.
Implementing this principle into your life will help you grow and expand your goals, professionally and otherwise.
One way to get involved and regularly have experiences like these is by joining a like-minded group of professionals and participating in our biannual, in-person summits. Mastermind members regularly say these are the highlight of the year!
As you work through this, you'll need other professionals who can partner with you to produce a confident lifestyle. Reach out to us at our website and apply to join one of our mastermind groups online.