Me, “Surround yourself with winners.” Tip 15
This advice has been very popular, both among Moms as well as in my therapy sessions. This was a big hurdle for me, and sometimes still creeps in.
Having come from a difficult background, I was surrounded by difficult people. I really didn’t have access to progressive thinkers in the first two decades of my life. My circle was very small and highly underdeveloped.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know who are the best people to be around, “the winners.” For me, it was hard to identify them, and extra hard to connect with them. Largely I like to be around people who tell me what I want to hear, although they may not be “winners” or may not even care about my well being at all.
Counseling and education were huge tools in exposing me to opposing views, progressive ideas and possibilities. I found new people when I did new things.
A strong guiding principle was, be the type of person you hope your child will be. I wanted Michael to be a winner; therefore I had to be one, and had to find some winners to bring around.
I tried my best to modeled the standards I wanted for him. I found people who I felt would be a positive influence for him, and for me. I initially reduced, then eliminate, contact with toxic people. It isn’t always possible to avoid difficult people entirely, but at a minimum reduction can happen.
I remember when Michael was about two years old. I took him to visit my grandfather, who was generally pretty hateful. I thought they should spend some time together because it was “the right thing” to do. I felt Michael should know his great-grandfather and he should know Michael.
During this visit my grandfather was ignorant and disrespectful to me and had zero interest in this sweet little toddler. We left within minutes. I made a decision that day; I would not expose Michael to him again.
I wish I could say I was so clear with all the remaining toxic people in my life. That was not the case. I can say I did consistently improve.
If “winners” aren’t close, highlight the greats! Talk about your heroes, leaders and legends. Discuss what makes them great, what they’ve had to overcome. What it takes to stand up for what you believe in?
Introduce your kids to great people, big thinkers, generous and kind individuals. If you don’t know many, just be one. In my experience expanding my thinking and trying new things has lead me to winners.
The front cover of my book is just a sampling of some of the winners that surround me these days.