Monday, February 1, 2016

Diversity in Circle of Friends

I often hear the advice of "surround yourself with like-minded people and supporters."

To an extent that is true. When we are stretching ourselves into new territory, supporters and people who "get it" is vastly important.

At the same time, too much support, with no "realists" or "negative Nancy's" can also be dangerous.

We need to hear different perspectives.

Both my real friends and Facebook friends are very diverse. I do not not always agree with everything my "friends" say. I do not always agree with their opinions. In fact, some of their opinions not only make me shake my head, but some even make my blood boil.

However, I need those perspectives in order to keep me "in the real world." If everyone I interact with has the exact same ideas I do, or are afraid to disagree with me, I will lose perspective. I will not realize different ideas are out there that I need to also process - in order to re-evaluate my own ideas, maybe even reject them, or just reject their ideas.

If you are not confident in yourself or your ideas, you absolutely need more "cheerleaders" than "negative Nancy's" - but every once in a while it is good to check-in with those who do not "get it."

That is not to say your interaction should be a debate or an attempt to convince the person of your way of thinking. It is just a discussion - preferably a time for listening, reflecting, on your part.

This allows you to avoid living in a bubble. This allows you to learn to continue to build your confidence in yourself and your ideas.

If interacting with one "negative Nancy" causes you to falter, you either have a self-confidence problem or you are not totally confident in your ideas.

Either will break you if you do not address it - and you cannot address it if you never recognize it.

So look for people to validate your ideas and support you, but also widen your circle to include some diversity to give yourself the opportunities to continue your growth.

Deedra is originally from Arkansas; an attorney in Scottsdale, Arizona; a diversity expert and motivational speaker for The Ambassador Project; and has a blog at where she shares her perspectives based on questions and experiences. Follow Deedra on Twitter @askdeedra

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