“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
― Jim Rohn
This is a quote that is always very important to me, and always something I reflect on actively to make sure these five relationships are positive ones, and are making me the best person I can be.
It is so true that the people you spend the most time with contribute to who you are, whether you know it or not. It could be drastic or subtle. You could have no idea, or you can sometimes feel the way they affect you. Sometimes you can just tell that a person inspires you to be the best version of you, or brings you down with negative behavior. When we surround ourselves with people who have values and characteristics we respect, want to have for ourselves and strive for, we will always be the best version of yourself.
I’m taking this opportunity to write and share a little bit about my current five. These five change throughout the years, and over your lifetime, so I believe it’s important to reflect on these and identify your five often, and think about how who they are is contributing to who you are. Are these positive? Do you need to make any adjustments? It’s been invaluable to me to make sure that I am on track with my own goals as a person and professional.
I’m taking this opportunity to write and share a little bit about my current five.
She is not only someone I work with, but one of my best friends. Years ago, she came to work for our company and after some time, our classrooms were assigned to co-teach together (PK and Kinder). She was a great balance for me as a classroom teacher, she was the calm to my Pre-K Storm, the voice of reason when needed, the nurture to my nature. We made a great classroom team, and when I moved into the office, she became our go-to girl. We went from spending Sundays together running from store to store for supplies to just spending time together. Today, Missy and I are both Directors at separate locations of our company, but we spend just as much time together as before. Though I am technically the “newest” Director as my site is just opening, Missy moved into a Director role a year ago right from being a teacher. Though she was exposed to a lot over the years being our go-to, there’s still a lot of what we do that she doesn’t feel the most confident in. She often comes over to my site to learn something new, or vent about a parent or staff problem she is having trouble with. As a leader, Missy has become a calm, laid back and appreciative leader. Her personal qualities are so relationship oriented, and she would drop what she’s doing in a heartbeat if she believed she could help. As a person I spend a lot of time with, she reminds me that it’s okay to be stressed, it’s okay to not get it all right, and that sometimes it’s important to just slow down.
My husband Steve and I spend a lot of time together, not only by default because we’re married, but also because we are friends. Steve and I were friends long before we even started dating, so our group of friends is very important to us, as is our friendship. Sometimes, when I come home from a long day, I may want to vent about something or tell Steve a story, and he seems like he doesn’t want to hear it, but really it is important for me to take this cue from him to unplug, shut off my day and be present at home. He is the reminder to me that work isn’t everything.
Noelle is the newest person on this list, but a person I now spend most of my days with as she stepped into my Assistant Director Role. Noelle began as an Assistant Teacher in one of our programs as a college student, but when she earned her degree and moved home, one of our sites was not convenient for her to stay any longer. Once we began opening up my new site, she was excited to hear of the opportunity coming closer to where she lived, so she applied to return. We hired her back as our infant teacher with the intent to give her some time to show her stuff as a teacher, responsibility as a Group Supervisor shortly after and potentially invite onto Leadership and step into my second Assistant role later as we ramp up the business. When my first Assistant Director took a tailspin, she was the first person I thought of to take her place. Though I had not worked with her personally yet, many people I trust, including Missy, spoke so highly of her and said with such confidence that we would work well together that I trusted my gut and we spoke with her about moving into that open role immediately. Since April, she has been with me for 45 hours every week. Her readiness to tackle this job has been one of my sole responsibilities. Because Noelle is still learning so much, is so new to our Leadership culture, and has so much potential, she reminds me daily to be the best leader I can be so that I can influence and contribute to her growth, lead by example and so that she can learn the best approaches she can. Not only that, Noelle’s personal qualities being that she is task oriented, organized, detail oriented, healthy and knows her limitations are all things that enhance my traits as well.
Kelly is one of the most reasonable, kind and caring people I know. Kelly and I have been friends since High School, and have a trusting relationship that goes well beyond just friendship. She has been there for me through good stuff and bad stuff. She has supported me through two of the most challenging periods of my life: the adoption of my son and the decline and death of my grandfather. As a Nurse, Kelly has the innate qualities of compassion, but this is not something she has because she is a nurse and has been trained to. Kelly has always been this way and will always be this way. Kelly provides me guidance when I need it, is there to answer questions or let me bug her, is there for me as one of the few people outside of my business I can vent to and get an honest opinion back from an outsider. With our relationship, and how much time we spend together, it is clear to me that I value the trust we put in each other, her ability to just sit back and listen, her open mindedness and her work ethic.
Tom is the owner of our company and someone I spend a great deal of time with on a daily basis right now as we open this business. Tom and I are very similar. In our company, we do personality testing for our leaders using the DISC Personality Tool. There are only a few of us in the company, but Tom and I are 2 of the 3 “D” personality traits we have. The “D” personality is defined as Dominant. We are direct, decisive. We would prefer to lead than follow, tend to have high self-confidence and are risk takers and problem solvers, which enables others to look to them for decisions and direction. We tend to be self-starters and have a get things done attitude. Sometimes the two of us in the same building can be maddening, because we get things done so quickly and make such firm decisions and move on, that it can be frustrating to people who don’t think or function like we do.