Back in my junior tennis days (yes I can still remember!), a friend invited me to play doubles with his brother and sister, both of whom were senior A grade players and club champions.
As a pretty average player myself, I was nervous about playing with such talented champions. But I was surprised to find that I actually played the best tennis I had ever played.
It was not anything they said to encourage me. There was just something about playing with people at that level that helped me lift my game to meet their expectations.
It is a good analogy for who we spend time with in our business and personal life. There are people in our lives who cause us to lift our game and to be the best version of ourselves. You know them; they are usually playing a big game themselves and have high expectations of themselves and others.
They may have even believed in you more than you believe in yourself at some stage. Maybe they still do.
They help us aspire to bigger things than we would if we were left to our own devices. They are the kind of people who are generous with their time and connections. When you talk to them about new ideas or future projects, they are always able to expand your vision. Even better, they give you the gift of being able to contribute to them in a similar way.
It is challenging to maintain contact with such people during this crisis period, when we can’t meet for coffee, lunch, events, conferences etc. You may even be reluctant to connect with them online because it is not the same as seeing them face-to-face.
It takes a conscious effort to stay connected with the kind of people who call us to be the best version of ourselves. But it is worth the investment.
In a recent HBR article, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz suggests that, “When thinking about how to develop in our careers, most of us tend to focus on promotions, projects, courses, certifications……We overlook one very key piece of the learning puzzle: proactively surrounding ourselves with people who will push us to succeed in unexpected ways and, in so doing, build genuinely rich, purposeful lives of growth, excellence, and impact.”
Are you staying connected with people who help you be the best version of yourself?
Best regards, Brian