We all know that success is contagious. People want to be successful and when they see someone around them being successful they do a few things: they adopt the habits of the successful person, they do their own research on how to be successful and implement their findings, or they do nothing and wish that they were successful. As I’ve highlighted in previous posts, many coworkers took my lead and started implementing healthy habits. I’ve become the exercise and nutrition expert, and they feel accountable to me. I didn’t necessarily ask for this role, but I feel that by improving the wellbeing of the people I work with, the happier my life will be at work. What I don’t like is feeling like I’m punishing people when they eat a doughnut or drink a soda. I feel like “The Enforcer” and that they feel like they have to hide from me. It’s a strange place to be in when your boss hides his Taco Bell behind his back when walking past you, hoping you don’t call him out. My motivation was simply to get people to think about their decisions and weigh the costs and benefits and do the simple math of whether their actions will get them closer to their goals. I didn’t want to inspire people just for them to hide their struggles. If anything I wanted them to work on their transformation with me, and share in the triumphs and struggles.
So what is one to do with these “Groupies”? The people who want to glean a little bit of your hard work and dedication? How do you keep from being taken advantage of, and sucked dry of your own precious inspiration? I’ve set up a set of rules to keep everything in perspective, and keep it positive.
Rule #1 of Fitness Club: Don’t talk about Fitness Club…Just kidding, actually talk about it, a lot! Talk about goals, talk about strategy, talk about diet, talk about workouts and cheat days. Open dialogue is a great way to keep everyone motivated, accountable, and inspired.
Rule #2: Keep the competition healthy, but don’t feel like you should alienate or be alienated because someone is doing better or worse than you. You are there first and foremost to take care of yourself and to achieve YOUR goals.
Rule #3: Just because someone thinks you’re an expert, doesn’t make you one. I LOVE being the authority on a subject, but I know when I am not. This is the case when it comes to this topic. I’m not a nutritionist, and certainly not a personal trainer. What I do know is that I am learning lots by trial and error, and what may work for me may not work for others. So bottom line, guide people conservatively, the last thing you want is for someone to get hurt doing something you advised them to do.
Rule #4: Be encouraging, and require the groupe to encourage you! This is not the place of endless atta-boys. I need my inspiration cup filled up too! Protect yourself and your source of inspiration, those who are deserving of it will replenish you, so give it out very carefully.
Rule #5: Don’t be afraid to rid yourself of the leeches. Time and time again I drive home the point of ridding yourself of people and things that no longer serve you. Having to carry the weight of someone who’s purpose is to drag you down is not doing you any favors. If you see someone who says one thing and acts the opposite enough times, but requires you to provide their “motivational spark”, to get them back on track is at least a distraction and at worst a derailer. Just because you are a leader, does not mean that you are required to be depleted of your resources.
So there you have it, a way to spread your success through others in a mutually beneficial way. It feels good to have others look up to you and want what you have. It means it’s WORKING! So be mindful of the roles each person plays, and set up some guidelines and boundaries so that everyone can feel strong and successful. Do you have “leeches” in your life? If so, take a look at why you allow them to continue to play that role in your life. Can you change their role by having a simple conversation, or is it deeper than that and you just haven’t had to courage to kick them to the curb? Get rid of a leech, and see how much of your vital energy you regain.