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Lately, I’ve been on a home decor kick.
And no, I’m not festooning* my porch with pumpkins (they’d rot in the triple-digit heat we’ve had) or adorning my mantle with baking spices-scented candles (I prefer those with fragrances like “fresh linen” or “cool waters” — usually any of the blue candles.)
When I look around my house or spend time in any room, I want to feel happy and energized. I also want my environs to reflect the Amy I am today (and could be in the future) rather than the Amy of years gone by.
I’m a highly visual person inspired by my everyday world, so when I can’t remember the last time I changed things up around my home (which includes my world HQ) and start feeling antsy, it’s a clue that it’s time for me to level up in some way.
Every so often, it’s important to take the time to see your surroundings with fresh eyes. We can get so used to our environment that we fail to notice things that should no longer be there or no longer serve us (I’m looking at you, Ikea table and ghost-of-Homegoods-past tchotchke). Yet, the simple act of changing things up can be the catalyst for all sorts of growth.
For me, a new environment equals new ideas and inspiration, personally and professionally.
And I’m betting the same is true for you, too.
A wise friend of mine likes to say, “Your environment always wins.” (Side note: He has his own Substack newsletter worth checking out.)
Your environment, which includes your friends, colleagues, location, habits, and lifestyle (and yes, your home decor), impacts you far more — for better or for worse — than you realize. You can’t make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.
Ask yourself these two questions to better assess if your environment is helping you grow or holding you back:
1. Who’s in my top five?
Jim Rohn famously said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend time with.”
Rohn’s assertion was rooted in the law of averages, which is the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes and suggests that the five people you’re around the most shape you.
Said another way, when you’re trying to grow into the person you hope to be, it’s helpful to surround yourself with people who demonstrate those qualities you aspire to achieve. These people might include mentors from whom you can learn new skills, colleagues who cheer you on when you get discouraged, or friends who hold you accountable to your goals. Having in your “top five” positive, encouraging people who lift you up and support your dreams will dramatically improve your chances for success.
Conversely, if your environment contains negative people threatened by your choices, you’ll have a much harder time trying to make — let alone maintain — significant change.
Do the people around you support your destiny and not just your history? If not, it might be time to widen your circle and proactively seek new energy from like-minded souls.
2. Where do I hang out, and what do I do while there?
The same principle applies to all aspects of your environment; it’s not just the who but also the what you surround yourself with that can either propel you forward or hold you back.
Where are the top five places where you spend your time? For most, this includes:
An office and home base (which these days might be the same thing)
Commuting in your car or on the train (unless you’re a remote worker)
The gym or a bar
Events or your sofa
Walking through a park or surfing the internet.
No place is inherently good or bad, but you should pay attention to how you feel while you’re within those spots and note if that feeling changes when you leave them. For example, are you motivated or drained? If it’s the latter, and you want to make progress, something’s gotta give; it’s time to make a change.
Consider, too, your habits and lifestyle: are you intentionally placing yourself in situations and locations that spark growth? Or have you fallen (perhaps unconsciously, out of fear) into a stagnant comfort zone of the familiar but uninspiring?
Real growth happens when we understand whom and what best supports what we want and align ourselves with those people and places.
The best place to start? Your inner circle.
In my latest Forbes article, I share the best five people to include and three to give the boot.
P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or refreshing my environment, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
P.P.P.S. One more thing: You have great taste in newsletters—thanks for subscribing! And if you like it, I’m betting your friends might, too. The best way to grow a newsletter is through kind folks like you sharing with your favorite people. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe by subscribing!
*I know, I know. Such a fancy word for decorating, right? You know I love words, so I couldn’t resist. If you’re a fan of home decor too, feel free to check out my Pinterest boards where I capture visual inspiration and DIY ideas (I’m pretty crafty and know my way around power tools) for my home environment.