Someone recently told me that he's struggling with communicating his personal experiences without publicly criticizing others (basically, he's worried that he's overly talking sh*t). "I'm just trying to tell stories," he said "but people are too often giving me reasons to call them out. People just suck." *Big sigh" "Ugh...be careful with the people you surround yourself with."
This claim is fair, and coincidentally something I've been thinking a lot about. When I was younger and hung out with terrible people, I was also a terrible person. When I was insecure and struggling, I connected with others who were also in difficult places. And when I finally acquired the self-confidence, independence and enthusiasm that I now thrive on, I saw that the people I became close to were quite similar.
The phenomenon of people sucking is not new, and I promise that it will never change. What we do have control over is 1) the people we surround ourselves with, and 2) the types of connections that we have with them. People's energies, attitudes, habits and values impact our own, and can make us change for better or for worse. So, choose to only engage with people who you consciously know will improve your life, your day, your smallest moments and your outlook on it all. Because you can't change them - you can only change yourself.
Here are five people who I have chosen to surround myself with (online and offline) who have built my work ethic, given me confidence, made my heart better and taught me that genuine kindness always wins. Thank you to these people for being in my life and making me better everyday.
Gary is the first celebrity I ever fell in love with who wasn't a Jersey Shore cast member or John Stamos. He is an entrepreneurial BEAST, not only because he hustles insanely hard but because his online authenticity is unprecedented. He accepts his flaws, harnesses his strengths, pushes himself to every limit and treats people with genuine respect. Transparency is always crucial in successful personal branding, but Gary has gone above and beyond in his strategy to remain completely open with his community, friends and fans.
Social Media Josh has put more knowledge into my brain in the last six months than anyone has in my entire life. Digital marketing genius, entrepreneurial thought leader, real life energizer bunny and creative nutcase. In the words of Miley, he won't stop, he can't stop.
The ultimate Boss Woman who has built her own comedy empire through millennial feminism, candidness, and saying what everyone else is scared to. If anyone successfully acquires the self-confidence, fearlessness, honesty and humor that Amy Schumer has, you have won.
Driven, brilliant, hilarious and humble. He has taught me everything I know about unconditional love, acceptance, support and human connection. Holding the truest heart of anyone I have ever known, Eliav has taught me that there's nothing more important than being with the one you love.
Tali has shown me that there's something to like in everyone, patience is the ultimate virtue, and kindness will always win. So slow down, listen to people, and have honest interactions that feed your soul and benefit others.