Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
While I think that’s pretty accurate, my average would be way more than five. Especially when you consider that my posse includes my wife, our four kids (that’s five right there!), the folks who live and work on the farm in Vermont, and our Spartan race team. But, for the purposes of the exercise, let’s look at those I spend the most time with.
Who Does Spartan CEO Joe De Sena Trust and Admire?
First is my wife, Courtney, who leaves me in the dust when it comes to true athleticism. My success with obstacle and endurance racing is due to a stubborn streak a mile wide, but Courtney’s comes from natural talent combined with years of honing her craft. She went to Penn State on a soccer scholarship and, as captain, led them to the NCAA Final Four. Now, she runs a wedding business while helping to raise our four kids. We argue about whether it’s harder to raise kids or start a business, but she shows me how to stay connected and on an even keel while getting the job done.
Next are my children, Jack, Charlie, Catherine, and Alexandra. Having kids is like seeing the world all over again. They keep me on my toes. They’ve taught me that you can’t assume anything. You have to communicate and find out what’s going on. For example, my oldest, Jack, was in a play for Chinese New Year and just stood on stage and did nothing. When his mom asked him why he froze, he wouldn’t answer; she thought something serious was wrong. Later, I found out that he was wearing pink bunny ears on stage and felt stupid. It was that simple and if I hadn’t asked, I would never have known. My kids remind me every day that you can’t take anything for granted.
Retired Colonel Tim Nye is a real-life Spartan warrior who spent a combined 32 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and Army. He’s done it all: Special Forces, Ranger regiment, tank battalion, artillery, Special Operations, more deployments than I can name, plus two master’s degrees and an entirely separate résumé as an athlete. Col. Nye has been trained to find a solution to any problem and never turn away from a challenge. He’s exactly the kind of guy you want in your corner.
Some people like to pretend they’re outdoorsy, but Sefra really is the real deal. She’s a nature expert who teaches Spartans to live off the land. She’s one of those people who’s in tune with the natural world, and it gives her a grounding and serenity that draws people closer.
Finally, there’s our hardworking videographer, Marion Abrams. She’s the invisible person behind the camera who makes all of our podcasts possible. Part artist, part journalist, part businesswoman, Marion takes what are often freewheeling conversations and transforms them into videos and podcasts appreciated by millions of people. She’s a terrific example of how being a multi-faceted artist can get the message out to a wide audience.
I’ve learned a ton simply by hanging out with these special people. They challenge me in the best possible ways to grow beyond myself and aspire to be like them. So who is in your inner circle? Who do you trust every day to inspire you and help you grow? Consider who you hang out with most and ask yourself these questions that uncover signs of healthy or unhealthy friendships.
5 Signs of Healthy Friendships
1. Do they challenge me?
2. Do they make me aspire to be a better person?
3. Are they people whom I’d like to emulate?
4. Does spending time with them foster personal growth?
5. Do they inspire new ideas and new adventures?
If you answered yes, then congratulations: You are on the path to success and continued personal growth. If you answered no to most of these questions, it’s time to reevaluate your inner circle.
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