Firing Toxic Friends & What To Do If Your Community Won’t Support Your ‘Crazy’ Ideas

Written by Scott May 29, 2013

Supportive friends make you live longer

Image credit.

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”

- Mark Caine

Today’s post goes hand-in-hand with our online presentation on: How to Find & Meet Inspiring, Passionate & Supportive People In Your Hometown. You can see the recording here.

Onward…

Is Your Community Helping or Hurting You?

The goal of Live Your Legend is to provide the ideal environment and resources for making your impact on the world. Everything we do is to serve that purpose for you all.

By now we should all know that the people around us shape who we are.

They will either mold you to change the world or cause the world to collapse on your shoulders.

In order to do anything meaningful – be it lose 50 pounds, run your first marathon, or do the work and make the impact only you are capable of making, you must have a support network that helps make it possible.

So I want to challenge you to ask what may turn out to be some hard questions.

Today I ask that you to give some real honest thought to your surroundings…

Look around you right now. Think about who you’ve spent the most time with in the past few days or week. How about the past year or two, or maybe even the last decade.

When was the last time you had dinner with a group of people you fully opened up to – and felt comfortable being who you really are?

When was the last time you met up with friends over tea and shared your latest crazy idea, only to hear them respond with thoughts of encouragement and share their own ‘ridiculous’ plans?

When was the last time you went on a run or workout with someone who left you buzzing with inspiration, ideas and possibility – so much so that you found yourself sweating on your notebook or keyboard because you couldn’t let a shower keep you from your latest epiphany?

Really think about this. How often do interactions like this happen?

How often do you feel genuinely accepted, supported, encouraged, inspired and empowered by the people you interact with?

Or perhaps we could frame it the other way.

When was the last time an idea of yours got ridiculed, laughed at or dramatically misunderstood by the people around you? Or much worse, maybe you never even brought the idea up because you feared how the people around you would react.

Be honest. Stop for a minute and think about the network of supporters you have in your life that you get to interact with on a day-to-day basis.

Are you proud of it?

Are your surroundings allowing you to have the impact you want to have? Or are they keeping that impact from having a chance at happening in the first place?

Getting this right will change everything.

But it starts with recognizing where you are.

As it turns out, the right community is not only crucial for doing work you love. Your community can also be a legitimate matter of life or death…

Surprising Evidence that the Right Community Leads to a Longer Healthier Life

I spent the last few days in Mexico with Chelsea celebrating her 30th birthday. As I was out by the sand thinking about the long-term future of our community here, I had what I believe was the most empowering realization I’ve had all year.

It happened as I was reading my friend Lissa Rankin’s new book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, which hit the NYT bestseller list last week, a few days after launch. It shares decades of medical research proving the real underlying lifestyle causes of most disease, and the various miraculous ways our mind and body are able to either cure themselves or keep from getting sick in the first place.

The core theme is that the root cause of most all sickness is stress. And as it turns out, two of the stressors that top the charts are not having a community that genuinely supports you and hating your job. That’s why she wrote a guest post for us a few weeks ago titled Surprising Science: Medical Proof that Doing Work You Love Could Save Your Life.

I’ve always said that if I weren’t running Live Your Legend, I’d be doing something in health and fitness – my other obsession. Reading the statistics in this book made me realize I already am! As it turns out, loving your job and surrounding yourself with the right people is some of the best preventive medicine on the planet. This realization brought a whole new level of purpose to the work we’re doing at LYL, and provided a little more understanding for why our Connect with Anyone course and community has helped people more than anything I’ve worked on to date.

Community & purpose matter in a lot of ways. 

To give you a feel, I’d like to share a few direct pieces of medical data and findings from Lissa’s book…

  • One study examining the people of Alameda County, California, found that, in every age and sex category, people with the fewest social ties were three times more likely to die over a nine-year period than those who reported the most social ties. Those with more social connections were even found to have lower rates of cancer. 
  • Another study concluded that as a general rule of thumb, if you belong to no groups but decide to join one, you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.
  • A Harvard study of nearly 3,000 senior citizens found that those who were consistently engaged in social activity outlived their reclusive peers by an average of 2.5 years.
  • A UCSF study of 3,000 nurses with breast cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that those who went through cancer alone were four times more likely to die from their disease than those with 10 or more friends supporting their journey.
  • A Swedish study published in the European Heart Journal found that men with heart disease are much less likely to have heart attacks if they’re involved in a supportive community.
  • Some studies even showed the benefit of a close community had as big of an effect on health as quitting smoking and exercising regularly.

This data can be hard to believe, and I strongly suggest you read about it for yourself in Mind Over Medicine. But either way, hearing this serves as a wake up call.

I always knew that a supportive community would either make your career or break it. But I didn’t realize it could actually dramatically effect the length and quality of your life.

Our surroundings matter. They likely matter more than any other single factor in your life.

So I’ll ask again – do the people around you aplaud you and your ideas or do they ridicule them?

Are you surrounded by people who support who you are and who you want to become?

It starts with one friend.

If you’re starting to realize your surroundings could use some help, you’re in the right place. That is why our community at Live Your Legend exists.

Like everything, transforming your surroundings starts small.

Take a minute to think of one person in your life who inspires you. It could be a friend, colleague, family member, anyone.

Do something this week to spend a little more time with them – set up a lunch, a workout, a dinner, a double date, whatever.

Also think of 2-3 people who drain your energy. Vow to spend a little less time with them this week. Life’s too short for toxic friends. Then again, if they’re toxic, can you really call them friends?

Remember, you are 100% in control of your surroundings. You just have to decide to do something about it.

What might you be able to do with the right people in your corner?

We’re here to help you find out.

-Scott

P.S. Because this topic is so close to my heart, I hosted a free live presentation for our community on How to Find & Meet Inspiring, Passionate & Supportive People In Your Hometown.

The goal is simply to give you all the tools and guidance necessary to find, meet and befriend the people in your hometown necessary for building your ideal business or career (and help you live longer).

Now go hang out with someone who inspires you!

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“It was 18 months ago when I came across Live Your Legend and it just completely blew my mind. I was living this life thinking I have to kind of just do this. Then it was like a kid on Christmas Day with my wife thinking ‘we don’t have to do this anymore.’ It was literally a life change. It opened so many doors. Thanks for everything you’re doing.”

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