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Can Your Circle of Friends Influence Who You Are?

Can Your Circle of Friends Influence Who You Are?

Those you choose to surround yourself with are crucial to your life in their own individual ways, but can they actually have an influence over who you are as a person? The lovely Simon Alexander Ong shares his insights on whether your circle of friends can influence who you become:

For many years, I lived by the belief that how smart and talented I was, would be the single, most important factor in determining my level of success in life.

The grades I thought I had to achieve through sacrificing nights, weekends and holidays for. Having to consistently be regarded as one of the top performers in my class. And, how there had to be mastery of all subjects studied, regardless of interest.

Now, I’m not saying that these accomplishments were of no use at all. In fact, I’m incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and lessons, which I’ve received from the pursuit of academic excellence.

From entering adolescence, to hunting down my first job while at university, it has allowed me to understand that hard work and perseverance are essential ingredients to getting what you want out of life. They are the catalysts that help turn visions into reality.

What hit me over time however, and particularly in the last few years, is the fact that our success in life more often than not comes down to the people we choose to spend our time with.

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How smart you are.

How talented you are.

Where you were born.

The family environment you grew up in.

These may all play some role as to how successful you will be in life, but in comparison to the impact of surrounding yourself with people who can lift you higher, it doesn’t compare.

An individual maybe born into riches but live an unhappy life, while someone from more humble beginnings maybe able to manifest their dreams in record breaking time. All because of the company they keep, which influences their way of thinking and thus resulting in a mindset for success.

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Our habits determine the person we become. Environment optimisation is an important one that can have a profound impact on your well-being.

Want to be successful? Surround yourself with successful people.

Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people.

Want to be healthy? Surround yourself with healthy people.

Want to become more confident? Surround yourself with confident people.

In essence, we become more like the people we hang out with.

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It’s like what Jim Rohn tells us: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment to reflect on the following: Who are the people you spend most time with? Do they elevate you or bring you down? Are they proactive go-getters exhibiting qualities that you admire or people who just sit and criticise? Do they motivate or drain you?

The awesome thing about being around positive minded individuals, who have a habit of chasing their dreams and believe in taking responsibility for their lives, is that you’ll be inclined to grow in a positive direction as well.

They will have an impact on your thinking and consequently your behaviour. They will support you on your journey and move you towards inspired action.

Maximise the amount of time you spend with these people!

“Associate only with positive, focused people who you can learn from and who will not drain your valuable energy with uninspiring attitudes. By developing relationships with those committed to constant improvement and the pursuit of the best that life has to offer, you will have plenty of company on your path to the top of whatever mountain you seek to climb.” – Robin Sharma

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The amazing thing about where we are today in terms of technology, means that you can literally surround yourself with inspiring people (e.g. through Twitter, Facebook and audio books). As a result, I’ve put together a few ideas including these more modern methods, on how you can begin creating a more optimal environment for your personal growth and success:

  • Attend events in your local town/city that appeal to your interests, can help you learn something useful, or arouse your curiosity. Make sure to bring your business cards with you!
  • Seek out people who have skills/qualities that you admire and learn from them. Never assume that they have nothing to learn from you. We can always learn something from someone, regardless of where they are in their own life.
  • Minimise the time you spend hanging out with the wrong crowd and unhealthy influences, e.g. pessimists and those that can hurt your chances of achieving success.
  • Read more. Books, blogs, etc. You will be exposed to inspiring success stories, expand your library of knowledge and nurture your creative thinking.
  • Listen to audiobooks/podcasts when you are commuting and/or relaxing.
  • Follow inspirational people and those who you can learn from on social media channels.
  • Subscribe to newsletters, which will add value to your life and help you towards your goals in life.
  • Keep perspective. While it’s important to spend your time with those who are more successful than you, it is also great for your development to be around those who are at the same stage as you (so ideas and the journey can be shared) and those below you, who you can inspire and share your wisdom with.
  • Spend less time in front of the TV and your smartphone, and more time getting out there and connecting with people. You just never know what it might lead to!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above and how you’ve benefited from both the power of relationships and a supportive environment.

To Your Success!

Simon

    As a Life Designer and Success Strategist, Simon Alexander Ong helps people create a life and career they love through unlocking their unique talents and inner awesomeness. He will be featured in the forthcoming book by Steve Forbes, titled SuccessOnomics, due for release in Spring 2014. To find out more, head over to http://simonalexanderong.com.

    How Your Circle of Friends Influence Who You Become | Simon Alexander Ong

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    Last Updated on March 14, 2019

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

    For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

    Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

    1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

    A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

    It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

    It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

    How it helps you:

    If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

    Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

    2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

    Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

    Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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    How it helps you:

    Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

    Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

    If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

    Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

    3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

    Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

    Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

    How it helps you:

    This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

    For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

    Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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    A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

    4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

    To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

    A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

    How it helps you:

    One word: hierarchy.

    All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

    In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

    If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

    5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

    Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

    Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

    How it helps you:

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    Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

    If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

    This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

    6. What do you like about working here?

    This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

    Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

    How it helps you:

    You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

    Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

    Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

    7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

    What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

    As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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    How it helps you:

    What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

    First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

    Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

    Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

    Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

    Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

    Making Your Interview Work for You

    Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

    Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

    More Resources About Job Interviews

    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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