Choosing your circle

Several months ago, Seth Godin wrote a blog post on Association in his trademark style of short posts that pack a punch. (It’ll only take a few seconds to read it, and it’s worth it!)

As a creative, I think his point is particularly true. The people that we choose to associate with will powerfully influence the ideas that we encounter that will feed our own creative work. In addition, their attitudes toward creativity will make a difference in our own confidence (or lack of it) in engaging in creative work ourselves.

This is also true of the blogs I follow, the books I read, the social media platforms I follow, the emails and newsletters that I subscribe to, and the magazines that I read. All of these introduce me to new ideas and resources, they expose me to different kinds of thinking, they influence the topics I think  about, and the activities I engage in. Some have positive influence, some have negative influence, some are neutral but add to the overwhelm and noise (and in so doing can be a negative influence).

But people, particularly those that I spend the most time with, are the most powerful influence on my thoughts, my mood, my emotions, and my ideas. Just like with the things I read, some of these people have a greater positive influence than others.

The challenge (for me) is moving out of my comfort zone in order to encounter new ideas and expand the circle of people who are influencing me in order provide the richest selection of sources possible while also making sure that I don’t wind up overwhelmed by all the input. It’s a tricky balance to find sometimes, but it’s one worth pursuing.

As I continue to transform, it means constantly reviewing my circle of associations to keep them in alignment with the direction I want to grow. This involves a constant willingness to prune back the less positive associations (like managing the number of social media accounts I follow) to make sure I keep room open for finding new ones that might bring more benefit and greater creative energy.

How do you choose who is in your circle? Are your associations helping you to change in the direction you wish to grow?

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

9 thoughts on “Choosing your circle

  1. I think one of the ongoing challenges for me is the “who” of media – print, electronic, social – and balancing the value of new/breadth with the value of focus/depth. Both truly are important. Two of my greatest “discoveries” – (1) I am allowed to decide at any point in my listening & reading to simply not finish & to move on, & (2) skimming can be adequate if I want it to be! 🙂

    Thank you for bringing this up!

    • I have the same ongoing challenge in balancing new/breadth with focus/depth. The amount of information available to us via the Internet (not to mention through book publishing and other means) makes the balance extra challenging, I think. I love your two discoveries! I’ve gotten so much better with the first one (not finishing), but I would do well to practice skimming (without feeling guilty about it) more often. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I do this as well. Recently, I ‘weeded out’ over 100 ‘friends’ from my facebook account b/c they were not contributing in a positive way to my well being. I’ve decided to work on managing my various social media followers and who I follow as well to keep my associations as positive as possible. That doesn’t mean I cut everyone out who has a rough patch now and again but if they’re consistently negative then I will usually drop them. It has made a big difference in how much junk shows up in my news feed for facebook. Unlike before, it now features primarily positive or neutral info. It may sound ruthless to some but it’s a lot better for my mood!

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