I was having a conversation with a close friend about her latest accomplishments. She’d just landed her first role in a movie and was telling me about how she’s been able to really make some changes in her network and expand her horizons.
My friend and I oftentimes talk about inner circles and how they reflect upon us. We’d always grown up with that birds-of-a-feather adage echoing in our heads, where your circle tells a lot about who you are and where you’re going in life. The conversation peaked when she told me about her process of editing to ensure she was making quality connections and had positive influences in her life that would attract prime opportunities into her space.
(She’s very big on energies and the rule of reciprocity.)
She said, “You know, I look at my circle and I ask myself, ‘Would I be proud to introduce this person to someone else?’ And going even deeper with it, would I be proud to introduce myself to … myself?’ ”
That statement alone was a wow moment (and reminded me why she and I are in fact still close friends. She’s always been a person who focuses on inspiration, progression and self-evaluation.)
When I think of my favorite celebrities and real-life mentors, what they all have in common is a close circle of friends and colleagues that aligns with their own interests and reflect positively on their personal brands.
Oprah and Gayle King.
Kanye West and Jay Z.
Egypt Sherrod and Amber Noble-Garland.
It’s really not about cliques or pretentious intentions, but more about surrounding oneself with people who either reflect your standard of excellence, from the way they choose to look to what they prioritize, or people who spark that fire in you to elevate your excellence by merely being in their presence.
When I’m reevaluating relationships in my life, I often base the process on this very informal questionnaire:
Would I bring this person along to an important work-related event?
Would I be proud to introduce this person to my boss or some other authority?
Is this person contributing positively to my life?
Are our values and morals along the same lines?
Are there ways for this person and I to partner up whether it’s a social venture or professional one?
Would I lose much if this person were no longer in my life?
After chatting with my friend on her latest boss move, I began to think, “As much as I consider these things in others, what about me? If I were someone else, evaluating me, would I be able to answer ‘Yes’ to these questions?”
My friend and I both put one another to the test, and we laughed at how we aced it. Of course we’re friends for a reason, but I can say that we try to keep it real with one another — even if that means hurting feelings — so, there was no way to simply pass because we’re friends.
True, there’s much more work to be done on myself and in my life, but I’m proud to know that I’ll not only work toward greater achievements for self-satisfaction and growth, but with the added perk of someone being able to say, “Hey, I’m proud to know her.”
I would challenge anyone who is making boss moves or expecting great things from their career and overall life to put themselves to the test. Would you be proud to introduce yourself to you? Why or why not?