Walk With Giants

Walk With Giants

Walk with people who make you think bigger, feel bigger and act bigger.

Yesterday I had the privilege of dining with movie director Oliver Stone at a Game Changers Symposium in Melbourne. If you’re under the age of 30, like my kids, his name may not ring a bell. If you’re over it, then you may recall some of his bigger movies.  Platoon. Natural Born Killers. Born on the 4th of July. Wall Street…. it’s a long list and will be even longer when his latest movie Snowdon is realised later this year. No doubt it will be contentious!

Oliver Stone Margie WarrellWhile I knew that Stone would be a special guest at the event, I hadn’t realised I’d be seated beside him at the head table! Needless to say, it was pretty darn cool!  He’s a big thinking guy, very passionate about his work (still, at age 68), and committed to sharing stories that he believes leave the world better off.  While I didn’t agree with all his political views, our conversation still left me thinking bigger about the world, about life and about what was possible for me in it. His passion and boldness rubbed off on me, as passion and boldness so often do!

Of course sometimes people impact us just the opposite way. You’ve probably had the experience where you’re feeling pretty good about life and then you find yourself in the company of someone who isn’t so positive and, without even realizing it, you’re not so upbeat anymore.

That’s because – for better or worse – our emotions are contagious, making it nearly impossible not to be affected by the moods, emotions and outlook of those around us.

Of course the upside is that if you’re feeling a little flat, spending time with someone who radiates an optimistic ‘can do’ spirit can help to lift your spirits, see the lighter side of life, and reframe your problems through a bigger, more empowering lens.

 Never underestimate the impact of the people around you to support or sabotage your success. 

Research psychologists have actually coined the term ‘mirror neurons’ to explain how we subconsciously mirror the emotions of those around us.  What this means for you is that you have to be intentional about the company you keep – mindful about hanging out with like-minded people who lift you up and minimizing time with those who don’t bring out your best. And if you’re in a situation that currently makes that difficult, then being extra diligent in your self-care and ‘renewal rituals.’

During my recent RawCourage.TV interview with entrepreneur and magazine publisher Lisa Messenger, we talked about why we sometimes we need to be courageous in ending relationships that no longer serve us (if they ever did.)  As I wrote in Brave, living your best life requires regularly connecting with people who help you be bigger and better than you would be otherwise and steering away from those who fuel self-doubt, stoke anxiety or discourage our dreams.

This is not about being disloyal or unkind to those who are struggling and going through hard times. It is about being fully committed to your own greatness – living purposefully and passionately and surrounding yourself with people who want no less of themselves. It serves no-one to  make yourself small because you’re afraid of what might happen if you dare to forge a new, bigger and bolder path.

You can’t expect to create positive changes in your life if you’re surrounded
by nay-sayers, critics and small-thinking people. 

While it’s important to be generous and support those who need a helping hand, an extra word of encouragement, or a listening ear, it serves no-one to subjugate our aspirations, talents and potential for fear of criticism from those who are more committed to their complaints and problems than their potential and possibilities. And remember, when they say things that pull you down or diminish your dreams, it’s because they’re ultimately scared you’ll leave them behind.

When people say things that diminish your dreams,
it’s because they’re scared you’ll leave them behind.

Of course it’s not every day one gets to have lunch with an iconic movie director. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that when you surround yourself with people who believe in you, it makes success so much easier to achieve (however you define it!)

Hanging out with big-thinking and big-hearted people will help you approach life more bravely yourself.

If you’d  like some extra help in doing just that, I invite you to take part in my 10 day Train The Brave Challenge. All the details along with feedback from what people have got from it are at www.TrainTheBrave.com!