Who’s on Your Team?


Do your relationships and friendships support or undermine your goals?


When you set a goal for change and choose to go on what may be a challenging journey, whether it is a health goal or other aspect of life, the people you choose to have around you is vitally important.

I recently saw Will Smith the actor quoting Rumi “set your life on fire; seek those who fan your flames”. He was discussing what this means to him and explaining how he always keeps people in his life who help fan the flames. It is a common theme when you read and listen to the stories of successful people, they become very choosy about whom they spend their time with. Jim Rohn; a well-known American entrepreneur and motivational speaker once said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

Who do you spend most of your time with? The people you spend your time with can most definitely have an influence on your health, wealth and life in general. Some people will build the scaffold to hold you up while others will tear it down. In my experience the people in life who aren’t willing to “have a go” people who are uncomfortable about trying something different will often do all they can to stop anyone else from “having a go” too. It is quite common in Australia and is referred to as Tall Poppy Syndrome.

It is not about being surrounded by “yes men” because that is not healthy. We certainly need people around us who we can discuss pros and cons with, who will be honest but supportive when we share our plans and dreams. You need cheerleaders; and if it doesn’t work, they will help you figure out how to get it right next time rather than say I told you so.

For someone not willing to “have a go” in life, anyone who wants to “make a go of it” is seen as threatening as you are threatening their version of reality, even if all you are doing is changing your diet or choosing not to drink alcohol. These people will try and stop you, tell you it can’t be done or undermine you in some way. It doesn’t make them a bad person; it is just that your actions have triggered their own insecurities, limiting beliefs and fears. They are afraid of change. If you recognise these people in your life, they are not the right person to share your hopes and dreams with. Be wary of the friend who says they will be brutally honest; they will most likely be more brutal than honest.

Having a go and challenging yourself at something new in life can be very rewarding but it requires a level of real vulnerability, willingness to fail and willingness to learn. Surround yourself with people who are willing to take that journey with you and/or support you on that journey. Brené Brown, one of my favourite researchers, authors and speakers talks a lot about vulnerability, she says that “vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage” and she brought my attention to a great 1910 speech by Theodore Roosevelt often referred to as The Man in the Arena. Even though it is a bit old fashioned and leaves women out, I think it can be definitely translated into something valid today.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

In other words, the only opinion that really counts is from those are those prepared to get into the arena with you, those who are daring greatly; the critic in the stands does not count! Ensure the people you choose to have around you whilst you are reaching for goals in life are the type in the arena not the critics in the stands.

Fiona Kane, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Holistic Counsellor and Life Coach at the Informed Health Nutritional Wellbeing Centre