Hanging around with people who care about and challenge us is a surefire path to success and happiness.

In the past two weeks, I’ve been fortunate to spend time with colleagues who are pushing the excellence envelope in consulting and coaching, and a client whose executives are leading an already successful company toward its next profitable growth curve.

I’m reminded how much I learn and grow when two things happen:

  1. I step in the path of learning opportunities by showing up, staying present, and playing full out.
  2. I spend time with talented, accomplished people who are continually pushing themselves to expand their capabilities.

Some thoughts:

  • Generosity receives more than it gives. The more stories, insights, and distinctions we share with a client, the higher the connection and possibility we unleash within them and us. My juice comes from helping other people succeed, so supporting clients to view their situation through a different lens and creating a smoother, faster path to their goals drives me.
  • Listen for connections. Separately, I met two remarkable women that were both CIOs of large companies before they started their businesses. Two men did pharma work in different German cities. None of them knew each other before being introduced, and I now have access to four more smart people from which to learn.
  • Find diverse points of view. We often limit our growth to an unnecessarily narrow worldview. Spend time outside of your comfortable bubble to experience a snippet of the journey other people are taking. People love to share what they know with people who care and care to ask and listen.
  • Quiet the space between your ears. Some of us think we are inferior storytellers. In fact, J.K. Rowling has nothing on the storytelling we do in our heads throughout the day. We make snap judgments, decisions after considering a single option, tell ourselves the five reasons we won’t succeed, and then have breakfast. Find people that don’t think, look, or act like you and engage them in a conversation. It’s a powerful way to get out of your head. It allows you to see the world through a wider lens. Notably, agreement isn’t essential, having the conversation is the point.
  • Play full out. In new situations and environments, we search for cues to help us avoid looking foolish. We think everybody is watching and waiting for us to do something wrong. They aren’t. They are busy focusing on themselves. Those that overcome the invented fear of playing full out find themselves contributing and learning more at conferences, helping others connect and grow within their teams, and adding value to more discussions.
  • Embrace the evolution. In a revolutionary world where virtual replaces reality, we do ourselves a favor by engaging fully with people face to face. Introverts and extroverts are still social animals. We forget that to our detriment. If you are fortunate enough to see a colleague or client in the flesh, respect the opportunity by pocketing the smartphone and focusing on them.

The more people you have around you who care about you and respectfully challenge your points of view, the higher quality of life you will live and lead. Period.