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They must be getting some bad advice.

Look at the people around them, no wonder they’re making the decisions they’re making.

They’ve surrounded themselves with a bunch of “yes-men”.

Have you ever made any of these statements? Have you ever thought about the implications for your own life?

I am wired to try to understand why someone is making the decisions their making. I want to know what information is informing their actions. So, years ago, I discovered something I would consider foundational to my growth: be careful who speaks into your life.

I think we’ve all seen it. A public figure making poor choices, and it seems obvious to us. Or maybe it’s someone we work with, obsessing over something we see as somewhat superfluous.

Or, in the youth ministry experience, it’s someone going to a conference (or reading a book, or listening to a podcast, or reading a blog post) and deciding to immediately implement a new strategy. The new strategy makes sense in the original context, but in another context (our context), it needs to be massaged and developed.

But it all boils down to that outside influence.

Be careful who speaks into your life.

I notice it in my language. The words I use are almost subconsciously influenced by the people I spend time with, or the tv shows I’ve been watching.

When I give my focus and attention to something, I’m not just receiving information, I’m being influenced.

The same goes for the people with whom I talk. So, am I talking to level headed people who are going to help me grow as a person, or am I talking to someone else? Am I surrounding myself with people who are working towards similar goals in a healthy way and facing similar problems, or am I isolating myself?

Today is all about you, on two fronts. First, are you surrounding yourself with the right kind of people–people who make you better, who help push you to more, who help you process what’s happening and how you can approach your role? Or are you surrounding yourself with people who don’t have your best interest at heart?

Second, are you that kind of person to the people around you? Is there someone with whom you need to initiate a conversation today? Not to tell them how to live their lives, but just to be an encouragement? What are you waiting for?

The truth of the matter is our leadership rises and falls partly based on the people who are talking to us. Surround yourself with wisdom, and watch what happens.


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