Does anybody remember that scene from Meet The Parents where Jack (the overprotective father figure who is employed by an Intelligence Agency) looks at Greg (the daughter’s love interest) and talks about the “Circle of Trust”?

Jack says, “I keep nothing from you, you keep nothing from me…and round and round we go”. Well, today I want to talk to you about who should be in your inner circle.

Here are some tips I think are important to keep in mind when looking for an inner circle:

Brutal Honesty

Your circle should include people who are willing to be brutally honest and constructively critical.

I think that this is the MOST IMPORTANT characteristic of those in your inner circle. If your inner circle is full of people who will not be honest with you then your circle isn’t helpful. However, if those people cannot provide their criticisms in a way that is constructive or productive then their words will just be hurtful and likely destroy any forward momentum.

Celebration

Your circle should be people who can celebrate you.

Your circle must include people who are willing to be with you in the lows but also able to celebrate with you during the highs, even if they may not be experiencing a high in their life at the same time (this is critical and DIFFICULT). If this steps on your toes perhaps this is an area that you may want to consider working on as well.

Reciprocate

Your circle should include reciprocal relationships.

Think of this in terms of a two-way street. I am there for you and you are there for me (very similar to what Jack is talking about in the quote at the beginning of this article).

Ideally, you would be in the inner circle of those who also find themselves in your circle. Having and utilizing an inner circle requires a high level of vulnerability. Vulnerability works best when it is reciprocated.

Listen

Surround yourself with people whose opinions you value and trust.

Your circle should include people you will listen to because let’s be honest when it comes to hearing truths we are not always the most receptive listeners. Hearing truths we don’t like can be brutal, but necessary for growth.

If you only allow people into your circle of trust whose advice you can easily ignore it may lead to you potentially doing things that you may later regret and could have been avoided.

At the end of the day, despite the importance of a circle of trust, you have to own your decisions and make choices that you can stand behind. You are truly an expert on you. However, having a circle of trust can make some of the things in this life just a bit easier to bear.

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