Inner circle influences are important for teachers and educators, as well as everyone.

I was sitting at Chicago Pizza waiting on my to-go order when an older gentleman, much more seasoned in life, leaned over and asked me, “What do you do?”  I smiled and said, “How much time do you have?”

After quickly explaining my mission and purpose we began chatting about life.  He explained how my success and confidence in living my purpose was contagious.  My inner goddess leaped! Winning! That was until he asked his next question that stopped me in my tracks and sent me into a tailspin of reflection and prayer over the next several weeks. 

“Do you have 5 people?”

In the weeks before, the idea of your inner circle having a direct impact on who you are continually popped up in my life somehow.  A gift from a friend, a post on social media, a Proverb at church, two different books I was reading, subscriber emails, and now… this man..this stranger I just happened to sit beside.

We have all heard the famous figure of speech, “If you lay in bed with dogs, you get fleas,” and we know that we should surround ourselves with good people, but all these moments were different.  This learning was not speaking to me about who pulls me down. This learning was asking me who lifts me up. Who is in your community? Your inner circle? If iron sharpens iron, who is your iron?

Your environment supports your goals.  What do I mean by that? In his book, The One Thing, Gary Keller explained that the people and places around us will either rob us of energy, effort and resolve OR send us into a “positive spiral of success”.

None of us live in isolation.  We have factors all around us that influence our mood, impact, and effectiveness.  These factors are absolutely out of our control, but will inevitably be a driver or barrier in our lives.  What is not out of our control is who and what we allow to influence us. We must surround ourselves with factors that will lift us higher toward our best selves.

Do you have 5 people?  Whether you are growing into your best spiritual, physical, emotional, or intellectual self you need people around you that will aim you toward your goal.  None of us, no matter how strong, do life alone. Pay attention to who you allow to infiltrate your space. Remember attitude is contagious. The right people and physical surroundings can expedite your energy and actions toward where you want to be.

Here are 5 strategies to reflect on your circle of influence:


  • Take ownership of your influencers.  Just like a ship captain cannot control the weather, you can not control the fact that there are influencers in your life.  This does not mean the captain is powerless. He can make strong decisions that lead both he and his crew through stormy waters, just as you can make a strategic effort in navigating the influencers in your life.  
  • Embrace the chaos.  Anyone who has known me for more than a day or seen me navigate through a storm has heard me say, “So what, now what”.  Spend less time reacting to the chaos and more time embracing and problem-solving. It is what it is. What are we going to do from this point forward?
  • Find iron.  “As iron sharpens iron, so does one friend to another.”  Proverbs 27. Seek out the people who sharpen you. Find someone who encourages your journey, your dreams, your goals, your success.   Otherwise, they will distract you from life and selfishly pull you into their negativity. As a dear friend of mine always says, “You bring joy!”  Don’t be the only joyful energy in your life.
  • Walk away gracefully.  When you recognize your colleagues, friends, or family are your negative influencers, show love and kindness, but walk away.  I love Trent Shelton’s quote, “It’s ok to cut someone out of your space, when they hand you the scissors.” If someone’s deficit mind or heartset, poor work ethic, or just all around negativity is getting to you, step away.  It’s ok. The tricky part here is recognizing the people in your life who seem joyful and supportive but may distract you from your goals. If you find yourself taking back steps in your journey after being around someone seemingly positive, re-evaluate and decide if they are distracting you from who you want to be.  Talk to the person. Share your goals with them. If they continue to distract you, walk away.


  • Live regretless.  Don’t wake up one morning saying man I wish I would have worked toward this dream or purpose of mine.  Pray or meditate over who you are and live in that purpose every single day. Put 5 people around you that send you into your “spiral of success” and push you back into your path when you start stepping off.  Trust me. You will need these guys. Recognize who they are and make sure they know who they are to you. They are your 5 Tribe.  

 Janna Sells | @jannypsells
Right Out of Janna’s Journals




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