Who fills you with ambition, excitement, and belief in yourself? Who sucks the excitement, desire, and self-confidence from your soul?

Other people influence your thoughts, actions, and feelings every day.

The closer your relationship is, the greater the influence.

Our lives are shaped by the people we surround ourselves with, more than the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Your choices about your health, career, hobbies, finances, and values are yours.

Yet, those choices are shaped by your mindset, and your mindset is shaped by your significant other, family, friends, co-workers, and others with whom you invest your time.

When you understand the power others have on you, and the power you have on others, you become more intentional about who you spend your time with, and how that time is spent.

The Power of Others to Influence Your Mood

Vanessa and I are focused, introverted individuals. According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an ISTJ. She’s an ISFJ.

When Vanessa concentrates on something, her countenance is similar to when she is angry, hurt, or frustrated.

My countenance while concentrating is the same as when I’m disappointed, disgusted, or irritated.

If countenance is a new word for you, it means “the look on one’s face.”

We’ve been married for 13 years and it’s still challenging for me to decipher which emotion she is feeling when she’s hard at work.

Often, I assume. And you know what they say…when you assume it makes an (butt) out of you and me. More accurately, just me.

Can you relate to this? Do you have a spouse, family member, friend, or maybe your boss, who has “that look” that immediately changes your emotional state?

This isn’t to say it’s their fault. You can certainly make them aware of how their countenance affects you. Yet, it’s still up to you to control your response.

I’ve learned to ask, even if I’m interrupting her flow. “Honey, are you just concentrating on something or are you bothered about something?” Most of the time she’s just concentrating.

Then I let go of the concern and move on with my day.

I’m also aware that the way Vanessa perceives me affects her.

I’ve become more conscious of my countenance. 

Just this morning, as I was concentrating on this article, Vanessa walked in our office.

I was in the zone and wanted to keep writing, but I knew how that might be perceived. I paused, smiled and even invited her to sit on my lap.

Don’t get any ideas. It didn’t go any further than that, but my taking the moment to invite her to have a seat, and her willingness to do so created a nice, private moment.

My mood was great after that. A lot better than it would have been if I would have kept writing.

It’s easy to spend too much time with people who bring us down, and not enough time with those who lift our spirits.

Our neighbors Keith and Kristie are great examples. Whether we just pass them in the hall as we’re walking our dogs, or we go out to dinner, in a moment, or an evening together, we always feel happier after seeing them.

Over the next few days, pay attention tohow you feel around certain people. See if you can spend more time with the people who lift you up and less with the time that bring you down.

Remember that you have an influence on others, just as they have an influence on you.

The Power of Others to Influence Your Belief in Yourself

My mom hasn’t always agreed with my choices, but once I made a decision to do something, she’s always supported me.

Like when I decided to sell knives instead of getting a “real job” in college. Or when I decided not to take the MCAT after graduation, and instead move to Sioux Falls to open a branch office with Cutco Cutlery. Or when I resigned from Cutco to become a personal trainer. Or when I resigned from Life Time to join Vanessa with our business.

Every time, her response was, “Are you sure?” Translation: I trust your decision, but it makes me nervous.

“Yes, mom, I’m sure,” I always respond.

To which she says, “Well, I know you’ll be successful. You always are.”

The gentle vote of confidence strengthens my belief in myself each time she said it.

I hope you have some people in your life who support you. Chances are, you have some people who don’t as well.

You might have friends or family members who disguise an insult within a compliment. Or they give you some kind of passive-aggressive response that sucks the confidence out of your soul.

They might respond with something like, “You’re brave! I would never do that,” or “Well, if that’s what you want to do, I can’t stop you,” or “Hmm. I’ve never heard of anyone being successful at that, but if it makes you happy…” Translation: I think you’re crazy and irresponsible. You’re not going to be successful.

Instead of standing tall after talking with them, you feel like you’re a foot shorter and silly for thinking you’d succeed.

It’s them. It’s not you.

You do need some people who will speak the truth to you if you make a bad decision.

If you have no acting experience, and told your friend you’re going to move your family to Hollywood so you can audition for the leading role of Shonda Rhimes’ next television show, you do want someone in your life who will shoot you straight.

However, if you told a friend you’re going to start a new part-time business, and she belittles the idea, it’s more likely her response is about her than it is about you. Stay away from the Debbie and David Doubters.

Over the next few days, make a note of how others respond to your thoughts or goals. Do they lift you up and cheer you on, or do they undermine your enthusiasm with their response?

The Power of the Other to Influence Your Belief in Others

How often is your perception of someone else shaped by other people you know?

In our online world, it it’s more common than ever to share opinions about other people we’ve never met, never even seen in person.

It reminds me of high school, when a new kid moves to town and joins the class. This outsider gets judged by the other kids who know nothing about him.

The “cool kids” watch from afar and talk about him rather than getting to know him.

If someone has proven himself or herself as untrustworthy, narcissistic, cruel, or mean, that’s one thing. It’s quite another for you to take someone else’s opinion about someone else, and make it your own.

I’d like to say I’ve always stood up to gossip and chatter about others. I have not. I’ve done my best to avoid speaking of others, but I’ve not always stopped it when I heard it taking place.

I have however, made it a commitment to myself to avoid judging someone based on someone else’s opinion.

It reminds me if this quote from Stephen Mansfield:

Steven Mansfield Quote Gossip

Every soul on this earth has the potential to become someone powerful. Each of us needs encouragement for our potential to become reality.

If you’re hanging around others who like to gossip, your perception of someone else could keep him or her from realizing their full potential.

Also, if you’re hanging around other who talk about others, it’s likely when you’re not around, they talk about you.

Over the next few days, pay attention to how people you’re around speak of others. If what they’re saying could change your belief about someone else in a negative way, step away. Even better, tell them to stop.

The Power of the Other to Influence Your Standards

I limit my use of profanity.

If I get really mad about something, some cuss words might make their way out of my mouth before I can stop them. For the most part, though, I don’t swear in everyday conversation.

Unless…unless I hang out with other who swear a lot.

My preference to not use profanity doesn’t keep others from swearing when they’re around me. Instead, me being around them makes me more of a potty mouth.

If you hang around others who drink a lot, you’ll tend to drink more than you normally would.

When you hang around others who eat junk food, you’ll eat more junk food than you normally would.

People do all sorts of bad things they wouldn’t normally do, if they hang out with other people who do bad things.

This is the power of others to influence your standards.

Of course, this can be used to your advantage as well.

When people hang out with others who have high standards, they tend to raise their own as well. It is wise to choose wise friends.

Nowhere do people’s standards affect others more than in marriage. Your standards also affect your significant other, just as he or she affects yours.

I know how frustrated some female personal training clients felt by their husbands. These ladies would invest considerable time and effort into losing weight, getting healthy, and looking their best.

They wanted to feel better for themselves, but they also wanted to make their husbands proud. Unfortunately, many of the guys wanted nothing to do with improving their health.

This is just my opinion, which I’m free to share on my blog: Men, you have significant power to set the standards of your household. If your wife is taking action to get healthier, happier, more energetic – if she’s trying to improve herself in anyway, get behind her and lift her up. Often, she’s doing it in part, because she knows when she feels better about improving herself, she’s going to feel better about being your partner. 

Ok, tangent over.

Hang out with those who have the standards you want to live your life by. Do not settle.

Read also: The Definition of Marital Abuse That Set Me Straight.