There’s a funny but true saying, “Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown. Ask yourself why you keep going to the circus.”
I’m fascinated by people who complain about the clowns in their life, yet continue showing up at the circus every day.
It’s the one thing I’ve been religious with my entire life. Cultivating an environment that supports who I am and encourages who I want to become. It’s a combination of strengthening the relationships that support you (your inner circle) and building new relationships that encourage your curiosities (your outer circle).
Optimizing for both groups is where the magic happens.
Your Inner Circle
The power of an inner circle is that it dictates the baseline of our happiness. Basically, conditioning our thoughts, beliefs, habits, and view of the world.
It’s why we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
Wherever you are today, it’s not fate. It’s a reflection of the environment that you’ve allowed for in your life.
As Carl Jung puts it, “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
You’re not stuck in the current version of life that’s playing out for you. You’re just letting certain patterns dictate your results. And because our inner circle holds so much influential power over us, start getting intentional about tweaking your environment so it gives you superpowers. Eliminate the negative influences around you and start cultivating positive relationships that align with your values.
I apologize in advance for the slightly millennial metaphor, but let me compare this idea to an Instagram feed…
I recently started paying attention to how many celebrities and influencers I follow on Instagram who seem to only post about designer handbags and luxury skincare. Not only was it getting really stale, but I also noticed my Sephora shopping cart getting bigger and bigger.
Noticing this trigger, I quite simply eliminated it. I unfollowed every account that was directing my attention towards the wrong things, and then ramped up the entrepreneurial and inspirational accounts that I followed. Without any other additional effort, I began spending more time on my goals and less time online shopping.
The way Instagram’s algorithm is dictating your feed is metaphorically equivalent to how your inner circle is dictating the experiences in your life. It sounds crazy to complain about the images showing up in your feed when you have full control over who you follow. So why isn’t this as obvious in real life? Cut out what’s not serving you; add more of what is.
Have you unintentionally subscribed to something in your life that isn’t serving you? A bad friendship? A bad boss?
Unsubscribe from it.
And what kind of influence would actually improve your life? What shift in your environment could give you the emotional and mental comfort to pursue your goals?
Subscribe to that.
It sounds simple because it is.
Your Outer Circle
I talk a lot about trusting yourself and being your own mentor. I recently shared how my practice of daily journaling allows me to push away society’s expectations and tune into my own curiosity.
Once you know what you want and have an inner circle that supports you, the next step is building an environment where your goals are bound to flourish.
It’s where the adage of “your network is your net worth” comes from. Surround yourself with like-minded people so that your dreams are met without judgement, but instead, with excitement. Surround yourself with people who are already living your dreams—whether that’s an offline community, an online membership, or a podcast. The faster your goals can feel achievable, the faster you move towards actually achieving them.
When I first got the itch to leave the corporate world, I joined a community of real estate investors because at the time it’s what I associated with freedom. Joining this group was completely out of my comfort zone and I didn’t share it with anyone. It was my secret community where I learned about mindset and entrepreneurship, and really got to dive into my curiosity of these topics. As my confidence grew, I wanted to fill more of my time talking about these things. Not real estate, but personal development.
Not coincidentally, it was in that moment of getting intentional about quitting my job that the perfect opportunity landed in my lap: to work at one of the leading personal development companies in the world. I joined Mindvalley in their Partnerships team and got to build relationships with some of my biggest idols at the time—Jack Canfield, T. Harv Eker, Neale Donald Walsch, Dr. Michael Beckwith, and many more.
Immediately, I entered a completely new reality—one where money grew on trees and hobbies merged with career paths. My mind expanded to the abundant possibilities that came to those who pursued them. What I didn’t realize from following this opportunity is that I would also be introduced to the art of the online business. A world where literally anyone can build a business from their passions.
When I decided to return home to Ottawa, I made sure to build an environment that incorporated entrepreneurship and online businesses. Enter: Ottawa’s hottest tech startup, Shopify, whose sole mission is to support entrepreneurship through commerce. It’s where I am today—honing the skills that will, undoubtedly, lead to further curiosity and bigger opportunities.
I’m sharing all this to say: let your environment do the heavy lifting while you focus on crushing life.
If you’re not working on your goals today, nothing will change by tomorrow. You can be hard on yourself about that fact, or you can start making simple changes that will give you superpowers. Start by auditing your inner circle and prioritizing which relationships you’ll invest more or less time in. Then start building your outer circle. You can even start privately like I did. Find a podcast, an online group, or—if you’re brave—a real life community that will support your new goals.
It’s been my magic recipe for pursuing a dream life and career. An inner circle that ensures a positive and optimistic outlook each day, and an ever-evolving outer circle that shows me proof of success for every new curiosity or goal I set.