Who are you allowing into your orbit?

A common aphorism when focusing on personal growth is to look at the five people in your immediate orbit as an indicator of your trajectory. The logic being that we tend to surround ourselves with those who make us feel comfortable or with those who have reached successes/lives to which we aspire.

With this in mind, if your goal is to achieve personal, financial or professional independence or success, you owe it to yourself to apply a judicious lens to these people you’ve allowed into your immediate sphere of influence.

“If someone is not nourishing you, they are draining you.” ~ Anonymous

Independence is seldom something that strikes from a clear blue sky. Gaining one’s independence is a process. Even folks who seem to gain independence through an event like winning the lottery must proceed through stages in order to gain true independence. Financial solvency is only one aspect of being independent. Psychological, spiritual, physical and mental aspects apply as well.

Along the way, as you transform, choosing different habits, perhaps making new friends, you will also encounter resistance from some of those closest to you. Your changing upsets the status quo, and most people are averse to change. Parents, siblings, significant others and friends are used to the person they’ve been around for the past few years. When you change, they sometimes see your changing as a judgment or possible disapproval of them.

If you wish to be truly independent, you must divest yourself of the opinions of others.

“What you think of me is none of my business.” ~ Terry Cole-Whittaker

This doesn’t give you carte blanche to be a jerk. Nor does it mean that you can flippantly tell others, “If you don’t like it/me, it’s YOUR problem.” What it does mean is that you’ll have to get even better at distilling what people are saying, what they are doing and what they mean by it.

The phrase, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” also applies here. It’s not necessary to dump all of your current friends and to disown your family in order to become “independent.” There is a difference between “selfish” and “self-care.”

Selfish is applying a “my way or the highway, like it or lump it” approach to the way you deal with others. If you are steam-rolling others’ feelings to benefit your immediate needs or goals, then you are being a jerk.

Choosing to spend time at the gym and leaving your buddy on the couch while he plays Black Ops until his calluses bleed is an example of self care. You are responsible for your choices; he his. It may be that he eventually joins you at the gym. It may be that he doesn’t.

If the latter is the case, then you have to think about whether his friendship is nourishing you or draining you. In order to excel, we must surround ourselves with people who inspire us to fulfill our greatest potential. These pace-setters, mentors or guides help us to set and achieve our own goals. Their encouragement and insights when we second guess ourselves is priceless.

Take a moment to list the top ten people you see each day, even if it’s a clerk at a store. I know that the clerk may seem like minuscule exposure, but our habits affect our mood, our perspective and our trajectory. If you stop at a place for coffee every morning and the clerk is consistently snide, abrupt and rude, how does that set the tone for your day? Ask the following questions of yourself when thinking of these ten people:

• Does this person care about YOU or what you can do for him/her?
• Does this person encourage you in your goals?
• Does this person make more or less money than you?
• Does this person smile a lot or complain instead?
• Does this person talk about the past or “the good old days” frequently?
• Do you feel like a better person when you are around this person?

“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Water does indeed seek its own level. It’s not judgment; it’s physics. If you wish to become independent, you must surround yourself with people who have achieved what you aspire to be. What say you? Have you found that your environment shapes your reality? How so?


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.



  1. says

    I love this piece. Recently I have changed so much in my orbit without knowing exactly why, just knowing it was the right decision… this has really made me think about it and it all adds up now. Thank You for your positive influence!

  2. says

    Hi molly

    I would like to tell you that I find very interesting article – your research. Will watch closely your views. Please let me know about anything new there through my email. Happy New Year to you and your families

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