Office Politics for Those Who HATE Politics

The people you allow within your physical space have a huge impact on your ability to maintain control of your life and create the kind of career success you want. The author offers some tips for how to surround yourself with others who will bring out the best in you.

Back in high school, there was a reason Mom kept asking who your friends were and what they were up to. She knew that your choices, thoughts and actions would be directly influenced by the people you spent the most time with.

It’s really not so different when you become an adult, except that during high school the “bad kids” were more obvious to spot. They were the ones getting in fights and getting arrested, while the “good kids” always went to class and got good grades.

Nowadays as an adult, the people you allow within your physical space probably won’t get you arrested, but they do have a huge impact on your ability to maintain control of your life and create the kind of career success you want.

Consider these 7 points when choosing who to hang out with at lunch… or anywhere else for that matter…

  1. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. It’s just a fact that there are certain people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself.  They are consistently, authentically positive and inspire you to be the same way.  They lift you up, give you confidence, and make you feel like you CAN be your best around them, so you are.
  2. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to stretch. The right people will ignite your curiosity for the world and encourage you to try something new.  They will make you WANT to step outside of your comfort zone and expand your horizons.
  3. Surround yourself with people who support you when you’re in the valley, but won’t let you wallow there.  These people recognize when you’re down, and will love and support you through tough times. They will NOT, however, allow you to remain in the funk.  They’ll lovingly extend a hand and encourage you to move forward bravely…and sometimes give you a kick in the pants when you need it.
  4. Surround yourself with people who help you recognize your wins. We get so busy with life, family and career that it’s easy to miss the goals we achieve along the way.  True friends will spot your wins and help you claim them for yourself because they know that success perpetuates itself. They also know that if you don’t recognize that success, it becomes impossible to sustain momentum.
  5. Surround yourself with people who celebrate your wins freely and joyously.  The right people know what it means for you to accomplish your wins and want to be there to celebrate with you.  They love celebrating your wins with you because they recognize that success is contagious.  As they rejoice in your success, and you in theirs, the “success bubble” grows.
  6. Surround yourself with people you trust enough to let them help you. Whatever your mission is on this planet, whether it is with your career or your family or something else, you can’t do it alone. You have to be willing to allow others to help you.  It is easy to fall into the trap of believing we have to do everything ourselves, and going it alone is simply not sustainable over time.  Find people worthy enough for you to trust enough to share your dreams.  And let those select people know what you need to accomplish your next step.
  7. Surround yourself with people who want for you what you want for you. So often the people who love you most, (parents, children, husbands, wives, closest friends) have a vision of what they think would be right for you.  They may not be on board with what you really want for yourself. Find the people who are willing to support you to get where you’re going, even if it doesn’t match where they think you should be going.  (No, I’m not suggesting you trade in your loved ones for newer models.  Just be sure to ask for their support AND augment them with others who do support your dream.)

BONUS: Pay attention to the people you admire and spend time around them.  Notice how they talk, how they carry themselves, how they work, and start to model their behavior.  What kinds of people do they surround themselves with?

Who do you admire, and what do you admire about them? Share your story in the comments.

About the Author

Martha Wilson is a retired CIA Operations Officer, leadership instructor, transformational coach and the founder of Greatness In Government, a leadership and personal development firm that specializes in re-energizing mid-career government employees. Organizations that are struggling with complaints about bad leaders, discrimination, bullying and other symptoms of employee dissatisfaction hire her when they are ready for a fresh approach to leadership training. She also provides private coaching to high-potential government employees who have decided to assume responsibility for their own personal and professional development.