“If we surround ourselves with people who are successful, who are forward-moving, who are positive, who are focused on producing results, who will support us, it will challenge us to be more, do more and share more. If you surround yourself with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be, you have the greatest gift that anyone can hope for.”
– Anthony Robbins
Point to Ponder:
Are the five people you spend the most time with causing you to give up on your gift, or do they nurture your gift?
It was just over eight years ago that my short, yet colorful life journey began making sense. All of the “who, why, and what for” puzzle pieces came together to create a vivid and crystal clear picture of my purpose, which is when I created iGnite. The process wasn’t sophisticated nor predictable. Rather, it consisted of a few meetings with a dear friend and mentor at Starbucks where I revealed my heart’s desire and vision, coupled with challenging questions and critical thinking. Within a few weeks, I answered his tough questions, though my ‘first child’ remained nameless. We both recognized that the name had to be something I loved and conveyed an inspirational, energetic and timeless message. As we tossed around different ideas he said, “it sounds like you want to ignite their lives!” “YES!“, I shouted. He smiled, I wrote it down and the rest is history.
I love to share and reminisce about that story simply because of its spontaneous nature. There are many more stories like this, all of which have provided me with unforeseeable lessons and growth opportunities over the past eight years. And, because October is iGnite’s birthday month, each week in October I am going to share the experiences that have provided me with the most personal and professional value, with the first being: “Be intentional with whom you surround yourself with, and arm yourself with the best.”
iGnite began the first Monday in October of 2006, and by February I had hired a professional business coach, Michelle Ewalt, who I worked with for three years. She was aware of all of my thoughts, plans, and ideas for iGnite, which for a one-woman show was a giant feat. She also knew that Russell and I wanted to have children one day, so during a meeting she suggested we spend our time determining the five, non-negotiable characteristics I wanted in an iGnite leader. I explained that I wasn’t interested in sharing this business with anyone else, simply because I couldn’t imagine another person loving and caring for our members and aligning with the vision as I did. But what she knew that I didn’t know at the time was: “no branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain on the vine.” (John 15:4). I realize this verse has much greater meaning, but how it relates to this story is that Michelle knew that on my own, the mission would not be fruitful. She also knew that if I wanted to see my personal goals come true, such as having a family, forming a team was essential. And so, that exact day I identified and wrote down the five, non-negotiable characteristics of an iGnite team member, and within one year the inspiring and wonderful women began appearing, and continue to, which currently make up what I think is the most superior team in all of Austin.
One of the unforeseeable lessons I learned is that in order for me to give my gift, which is the ability to personally and professionally give and be the best Neissa and pursue my dreams and passions, it can’t happen alone, and I must arm myself with the best. Per the words of the late world-class track athlete Steve Prefontaine, “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I’ve decided that I don’t want to sacrifice my gift, and so with intention I not only arm myself with those who are the best at what they do (both personally and professionally), but I also arm myself with people who are better than me (personally and professionally) so I can up my game, grow and become my best. As the late Jim Rohn says, “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”
This week I invite you to be intentional with me and arm yourself with the best so you don’t sacrifice your gift. And, so we can be our best, we must constantly be evaluating and asking ourselves the following questions from Jim Rohn: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, who do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?
“Life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”
Make a list of the five characteristics of the people you want and need in your life that can help you become your best.