Surround Yourself With the Right People: Lessons Learned from New York – New Jersey too! (Part 3 of 3)

new-brunswick

Three days is so not enough time to explore New York City. We covered so much ground in so little time, I almost can’t even remember any of it! After running around uptown, downtown, midtown, and Chinatown, we hopped on a New Jersey Transit train and headed for the one, the only (well, not really – there’s one in Canada too) New Brunswick!

In my last two posts, you read about the lessons I learned from this awesome vacation. Remember, lessons are everywhere if you’re willing to see them. First, from Jersey City I learned that now is the time to invest in myself to prepare for the upcoming spring. Secondly, from New York City I learned that “Anything Can Happen If You Let It.” And in New Brunswick, I learned another important lesson. This time from my husband.

Who do you spend your time with?

One of the reasons we hopped on a 6-hour, turbulent airplane and endured 6 hours of leg-cramping, foot-swelling, jet-lagging in-flight service (or lack thereof), was so my husband could partake in a “Mastermind Group.”

Comprised of 10 people in his industry who are either where he wants to be in his career or are on the same path, this group gets together to learn from each other, network, and share ideas. Yes, one could think that they could be each other’s competition, but they understand that building your business is about creation, not competition. There’s more than enough to go around. Much more will be accomplished if they help build each other up rather than tear each other down.

At first one would think that my husband is crazy to spend airfare and hotel, not to mention the fees required to join this group and the opportunity cost of being absent from clients for 2 weeks. But my husband understands something that these people do as well: In order to grow you must surround yourself with people you want to become. That goes for your personal life as well as your business life.

Picture this: I want to be a world-class sprinter. As I train and prepare myself for the Olympics, I hang out with second-class sprinters, whose speeds are eons behind what I need to obtain. Yet I run with them everyday.

Are they going to push me as hard as if I were running with sprinters who are running as fast, if not faster than I need to go? Are they going to fuel me to run harder and push myself past my limits? Are they going to give me proven tips and advice that I can use to make myself better and faster?

Of course not! They’re going to slow me down! It doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate them as runners or that I discount what they are trying to do. But I know that for me to grow to the level I need to be at, I need to be around runners who are already there.

The same goes for any aspect of life. If I want to be a millionaire, I need to hang out with millionaires who will give me million-dollar ideas and introduce me to million-dollar clients.

If I want to exercise and eat right, I need to hang out with people who eat healthy foods and who live physically active lives. If I eat every meal with people who eat junk food and mock me for eating healthfully, I’ll likely fall off the wagon and scarf down a cheeseburger with them.

If I want to live life to the fullest and grasp every moment as an opportunity to live, love, give, and grow, I need to hang out with high-energy, passionate people who cherish life and all its blessings. If I hang out with “energy vampires”, they’ll drag me down into their dark world of pessimism and self-pity.

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to be strong and hold onto your vision despite being surrounded by people who are the opposite. But wouldn’t it be so much easier and more fun to surround yourself with people who support your vision? Who give energy to it, feed it, and encourage it?

Isn’t it much more likely you’ll learn from people who have already achieved what you want to achieve rather than people who aren’t even on the same path?

Who are you spending time with? Who are you really learning from? Are there people in your life who are dragging you down? Maybe it’s time to pull away.

I’m so proud of my husband for seeking out people he wants to become and learn from. He gets it. They get it. I get it.

Do you get it?

And so our trip drew to a close. I spent a couple days exploring New Brunswick. I found cheap, but good eats at Celebrity Cafe, got some reading done at the local Starbucks, and even walked up to Rutgers University and pretended I was a college student. And I got to hang out with some of the best in the online fitness industry – for those of you familiar with them, Craig Ballantyne, Arnel Ricafranca, Zach Even-Esh, and Paul Reddick to name a few.

The trip home was bittersweet. It was good to sleep in my own bed and to see my crazy pug again, but New York City – and New Jersey too! – are beckoning for my return.

To all those jay-walking, crazy-driving, subway-cramming, loud-speaking, go-getting, tourist-assisting, diversity-loving, energy-projecting, life-embracing New Yorkers – and New Jersey-ers too – in the famous words of the Terminator Governor himself, “I’ll be back!”

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Preparing for Spring: Lessons Learned from New York – New Jersey Too! (Part 1 of 3)

statue of liberty ellis island

I just got back from an amazing trip to New York City – and New Jersey too! Hence, the lack of posts in the last week or so. What an awesome trip. My husband and I killed three birds with one stone: 1) We volunteered for a self-development seminar, 2) we explored New York City, and 3) my husband networked with some of the best in his industry.

Our vacations are usually planned as relaxation trips – go to the beach, sit around, soak in the sun, sleep in until noon – or family trips – run to one auntie’s house, eat, run to another auntie’s house, eat again, hang out with cousins. This time we decided to make it a productive trip by planning it around events of giving and self-investment.

It was 10 days of non-stop action, and throughout those 10 days I had many epiphanies. Besides learning that “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs are merely suggestions, that you better “move in” on the subway during peak time, and that I could never drive in Manhattan without killing someone or getting killed, I had a few “aha” moments related to health, fitness, and mindset that I thought I’d share with you.

Lessons are everywhere, as long as you’re open to seeing them.

So, this is Part 1 of 3 of my New York City/New Jersey vacation diaries. Here we go!

Getting Ready for the Spring
We flew into Newark Airport, and damn was it cold! The residents of New Jersey and New York City just had tons of snow dumped on them, and remnants greeted us on the sidewalks and side of the streets. Winter was definitely in the air.

Remember, my husband and I are from Seattle, where it rarely ever gets colder than 33 degrees, and we walked into 20-degree weather. After wandering around Jersey City, we finally found our friends’ condo and got ready for a long first weekend in New Jersey.

The first part of our trip was spent in Jersey City. We volunteered to be on a coaching/support team for an awesome self-development seminar which teaches you how to live your life with passion and purpose, and how to maintain harmony among all areas of your life. It was high-energy, highly purposeful, deeply moving, and extremely conscious. I learned things about myself and others that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Five hundred people flew in from all over the world for this event. Twenty-two volunteers flew in from all over the world as well, on their own dime, to help. I looked around at the sea of faces in that hotel ballroom, and thought to myself, Recession? What recession?

I was glad to be surrounded by people who weren’t afraid to invest in themselves during these “tough economic times.” It takes some kahones to see beyond the world in constant worry, bombarded by negative messages from the media that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket and doomed for starvation and pillaging, and understand that it’s part of the regular cycle of our economic world.

I recently read in the latest edition of Success Magazine that some of today’s largest and most successful companies were founded during our nation’s toughest economic times. For example, Microsoft began during the 1975 recession, and HP began during the Great Depression. I once heard that Warren Buffet made his fortunes by investing when everyone else was holding tightly to their money.

These people, along with the 500+ I spent time with in Jersey City, understand that in times of struggle, there is opportunity. And when we’re on a downturn, it must mean that there will be an upturn to follow.

This is our winter. The trees are bare, ice covers the ground, and all looks baren and desolate. But if you look hard enough, you can see the beauty in the snow, and the sun just might peak out from behind the clouds. And no matter how dark and gloomy it looks, you know that spring is coming, when everything will be born anew, and all will flourish.

An optimistic view? Yes it is. Did you know that research has shown that a high level of optimism is a vital component to predicting high achievers?

The lesson I learned from Jersey City? Now is the time to study, invest in yourself, and prepare to take full advantage of the spring when it comes. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that understand this. We are encouraging people to invest in themselves, get training, build their skillsets so they are able to take advantage of opportunities today and so they can flourish when we get through these tough times. And we will get through them.

It’s scary, I know, but we must trust that the spring is coming. It has to. The lower you crash, the higher you’ll rebound.

The weekend was packed with information, memories, and lots of love. I was inspired by those around me and by myself as well. Our days started at 6:00 in the morning and ended at 12:30 in the morning. But it was well worth the 2 hours of sleep, the time, and the money we put into it.

By volunteering for this event, I learned a lot and helped myself by helping others. I invested in myself, which is one of the best investments you could ever make.

Our weekend in Jersey City came to a close. I made some new friends and got to know some old ones better. I invested in myself, in others, learned that the New Jersey Light Rail system is awesome, and that ShopRite has some great deals on Greek yogurt. And then after a fulfilling and enlightening three days in Jersey city, we set out for New York City.

I leave you with a picture of our amazing group of volunteers, the “Dream Team”, and a question: What are you doing to prepare for the Spring?

The Dream Team