Hello, and welcome back to this week’s installment of the blog! I hope everyone is staying safe and warm as much of the United States has been hit with some of the most chilly and snowy weather of the winter so far! Last week, I wrote about kicking off 2024 with a positive mindset and a spirit of self-growth. Self-growth is a journey that starts within each of us, individually, and that we have the agency and autonomy to direct–but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone when you’re pursuing self-growth, either! This week, I wanted to spend some time talking about ways to engage other people–whether directly or indirectly–for support on your path to self-growth and cultivating that positive mindset.
Surround Yourself With Other Positive Minds
Reaching for new goals takes a lot of dedication. You need to keep your desired end result in view if you want to stay motivated. When striving to develop a positive mindset, you can do this by choosing the people you allow into your circle carefully. By intentionally cultivating a circle of others who are similarly committed to a positive mindset, you can help reinforce some of your thinking and habits. Surround yourself with other positive minds, and you’re bound to become more positive yourself.
Now, before I dive into this point a bit more, I do want to acknowledge that, realistically, everyone can’t always maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. We all hit rough patches now and then–some that last longer than others–and being there to listen and support a friend or family member going through a tough time is an important part of maintaining authentic relationships. In other words, I’m definitely not advocating that anyone ditch friends or family for not maintaining relentless, constant positivity. (It’s not realistic for us to expect ourselves to be positive no matter what, either!)
But when reflecting on a positive mindset, I’ve learned over the years that it can help to intentionally examine the folks you surround yourself with and think about where boundaries might be helpful. For example, we all have friends or family that we’ve supported through a tough time. Many of us might also have friends of family that, when we really think about it, we realize that they’re negative, cranky, or critical more often than not–and that over time, in turn, this energy can be emotionally draining on us and derail us from our own self-growth and positivity. When that happens, sometimes it’s helpful to limit our time spent around those folks and look for more positive people to surround ourselves with. So, what are some of the benefits of connecting with others who have that positive mindset?
- They Motivate You. Making changes in your life requires motivation. What better way to motivate yourself to look on the bright side of things than to hang out with positive thinking people? You’ll observe them in action, picking up clues as to what makes them such outgoing and upbeat folks. You may even discover that you begin modeling similar behavior without even realizing it. People who see the glass as half full are more likely to encourage you when you tell them about your dreams, and nothing is more motivating than genuine support and having cheerleaders in your corner.
- They Lift You Up. Make a concerted effort to spend your time with can-do thinkers, and you won’t want to complain or see the negative side of things nearly as frequently. The reason for this is because positive people don’t allow negativity to impose on their beings. They will likely confront any frequent nay-sayers who come around them or walk away from them to find more like-minded friends. Surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones who have a positive mindset is like an insurance policy for keeping your blue mood and trash talk at bay.
- They Can Teach You. If you find that staying upbeat just doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s definitely a good idea to find some positive friends and colleagues. Who better to learn from than the “experts,” right? Not only can you learn through observation, but your friends probably won’t mind if you ask a question or two now and then. Don’t be afraid to seek advice on ways to maintain gratitude when times get tough or how to let small annoyances go before they turn into big problems. These types of folks are usually willing to help when they can as long as you are respectful of their time and their boundaries.
These are just some of the many reasons you should surround yourself with positive people. Our friends are a reflection of ourselves, so it sure makes sense to choose ones that present an image to aspire to. Besides, positivity can be contagious!
But what are some other ways to find support from others for your self-growth? The people in our lives on a day-to-day basis are important, but what if you’re also looking for some more structured and formal support, a mentor may be just what you need.
The Right Mentors can Skyrocket Your Personal Growth
A mentor is someone who possesses knowledge in a particular area and who wishes to share that information with someone else in order to help that person, or mentee, improve themselves. I have had many mentors who have supported me in my personal growth. You can have a mentor in a career capacity or simply in your own self development. Having someone to learn from can be a tremendous help in reaching your potential.
- Get There Faster. While personal development isn’t a race and is best viewed as a lifelong pursuit, it can be truly beneficial to be able to learn from someone else’s journey. The best kinds of mentoring relationships involve guidance from the mentor rather than instructions or commands; you’ll learn more effectively if you aren’t told exactly what to do and how to do it. Life’s lessons must be navigated on one’s own to be fully understood. However, with the help of a trusted guide, you can absorb these lessons in a more meaningful way and use them to your advantage.
- See Your Blind Spots. Noting your own weaknesses is an incredibly tricky thing. Sometimes we’re aware of our flaws, but not willing to acknowledge them due to pride or some other self-serving reason. There are other instances in which we truly are blind to what others may perceive as a negative trait. Your mentor is someone you trust and look up to. Therefore, it is easier for this person to be truthful with you about the things that may be difficult for others to share. A trusted mentor can point you to areas in need of improvement in a way that is sensitive and kind in order to move you along your development.
- Have a Cheerleader. We all could use someone to support and encourage us along our journey, no matter what that path may be. When trying to improve yourself for the better or to reach personal goals, having a cheerleader in your corner can make all the difference. A mentor can provide you with words of wisdom or motivation when you want to give up or when it seems impossible to overcome life’s obstacles. A mentor is different from a friend in that this trusted adviser can provide insight that is directly relevant to your goals and that comes from the perspective of someone who has already walked a similar path.
- Receive Insight. A mentoring relationship can provide you with insight in a number of ways. Hearing your mentor’s stories of their own self growth is often inspiring and can point you in the direction of some valuable resources you may not have otherwise known about. Much of personal development involves reading and discovering new ways of viewing the world and your movement within it. Your mentor may be able to recommend websites, blogs or books that contain relevant information to your particular interests. You can also gain valuable insight just by observing your guide as they conduct themselves in life’s interactions. Having a model to learn from is a benefit in and of itself.
So, if you want to achieve the most from your personal growth pursuits, finding a mentor is a good step to take. Your adviser can be a trusted friend whom you know has been through their own enlightenment or a relative from whom you can learn. The important thing is that you feel comfortable with the person and that they possess adequate life experience to guide you along your way. And if you’re so inclined, I can add a personal plug for looking for opportunities to be a mentor to someone else, yourself! I’ve grown tremendously from learning from my mentors and also from serving as a mentor to others–that saying about mentors learning as much from their mentees as the mentees learn from the mentors really is true!
Next week, we’ll turn inward again, and I’ll be back to share some final thoughts on mindfulness and affirmations that you can use to help you cultivate positive thought and self-growth. Until then, stay warm out there and have a great rest of your week!