We all want the people we surround ourselves with the boss in all areas of life. We want our friends to shake the world and silently step in inspiration. When it comes to selecting partners, we tend to develop extensive checklists of incredible standards against which we measure the people we date. (S)he must look like a model, be built like a bodybuilder, be a rocket scientist with a Ph.D. from the top institution in the world, love me unconditionally and shower me with spoils while I act foolish in these here streets. I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s absolutely true: we develop an imaginary prize and anyone who falls short in any humanly way is therefore unworthy of our affections.
But at what point to we dedicate energy to providing these things to the world in full expectation that being our best selves will attract the same energy in return? When do we recognize that, among other things, our provisions are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves, and taking the time and energy to be our best selves simply ensure that we attract all we are due? I get a chance to connect with people often on financial decision-making. It should surprise me how often folks make assumptions about others’ approaches to debt and what that debt status looks like, but it doesn’t. If I had but a dollar for every time someone assumed I had a mortgage (or made conjectures about how large my mortgage was), made assumptions that I would need to finance something, or made back-handed comments on my wedding/engagement ring (which is large, but not unreasonable considering my income and lifestyle, and not unreasonable for the area of the country in which I live), I would have reached my FI number long ago.
What fills my heart most in these exchanges, though, is the community I’ve grown in which we can openly discuss these social interactions, and overtly defy them. My community is filled with bosses—young people of color (Brown, Black, Native, Asian and all in between) who take command of their image, dialogue, money, and careers in ways that defy the social roles to which they are assigned. They are bosses, community beacons and business owners, blazing new pathways, making a significant impact in their communities, and setting examples of what it is to thrive in the face of social adversity. These are young people who harness their privilege, grit, and accomplishment into change making. They are mentors and confidantes, and they inspire me on a daily basis, doing exactly what they do best: consulting with small businesses, feeding communities, coaching clients through growth, facilitating difficult dialogues, teaching young people, leading organizations to change, and growing visions. They are passionate about music, dance, culture, seeing the world, and deepening their own adventures. And, for each of them, I am eternally grateful.
So how do you find these pinnacle people? The answer is simpler than it might otherwise seem: be yourself. Do what you love to do, laugh hard, and find others who are having just as much fun. Whether it’s sitting in a library and reading a good book, traveling the world, or dancing the night away, there’s always a way to intersect with like-minded people. You could join a book club, participate in community travel groups or talk to the person sitting next to you on a flight, or even attend (or host) community dance class. I’ve found that simply doing what I’m most passionate about has led me to the most influential people of my life. I’ve found people with whom I can see the world, build and share ideas, share a home, make waves and change the world, all through simply doing what I’m most passionate about. I’ve met some of my closest friends (and my husband) through dance and the exploration of intellectual interests. We were able to connect and explore things we were both passionate about, learn new things, and bridge differing perspectives in meaningful ways.
How have you best identified like-minded, #boss folks to surround yourself with?