One of the most important secrets to change is simple: people. The people in our family, friend group, workplace, and community have a powerful effect on us. If you surround yourself with people worthy of imitation, then you will have a really good chance at changing.
In Galatians 5:1, Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” In other translations, the word used in place of “imitate” is “follow.”
In John 8:28 we read, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.’”
Jesus imitated what God the Father taught Him. Paul imitated Jesus. Others imitated Paul, who were then imitated by other Christians. As children, we imitated our parents. We learned to walk because we saw how they were walking. We wanted pizza because we saw them eating pizza. Imitation is a basic, human instinct—it’s how fashion trends start! The crux is to figure out who you are imitating—and who you wish you were imitating.
Change Your People
Learn from Successful People
When you see someone successful, it’s tempting to feel discouraged or jealous or even hateful. But what if instead of allowing those negative feelings to develop, you put your energy into obtaining that same level of success? If you’re jealous of a fellow mom’s schedule or organization, ask her out to coffee and pick her brain. If you envy the marriage of a couple from church, invite them over to dinner. There is no harm in asking the simple question, “How do you do it?” You will find that people worth imitating will not lord this over you, but instead will be happy to share their successes and failures.
Hang Out with Successful People
Picking the minds of successful people will help you on your path, but so will simply hanging out with them. If you only talk with people in the office who hate their job, then inevitably, your satisfaction will suffer as well. But if you instead try to spend time with the people who enjoy their work and are climbing the ladder, you might find that your satisfaction improves. Improved satisfaction can ramp up your productivity, and increased productivity can get you a raise!
Look for the Right People
Perhaps you feel like your options are limited or simply that no one sticks out to you. Maybe you know that you should be rearranging your inner circle but are unsure where to start. You may need help finding the right people. Ask God where to look.
When Robert Schuller was getting ready to build the Crystal Cathedral, his construction estimate was nine million dollars. The final cost was a lot closer to sixty million dollars. Schuller approached one of the benefactors and asked for advice on raising the additional money. The man replied, “How do you hunt a moose?” “I don’t know how to hunt a moose,” Schuller responded. “If you learn how to hunt a moose, you’ll have your solution.” When he got home, Schuller started thinking about and researching moose hunting. This is what he learned:
• Go to where a moose lives.
• Learn the habits of the moose.
• Learn what interests the moose.
• Be prepared when you meet the moose.
Get the Recipe
When a friend of mine was battling cancer, we found a little book called Healed of Cancer by Dodie Osteen. Diagnosed with liver cancer, Osteen was told she had only three weeks to live. In her book, she gives the recipe for getting healed. Her words showed my friend how to model her behavior and receive what he needed from God. My friend imitated Dodie Osteen, and he got the same results!
Sometimes people are successful but are completely unaware of what recipe they are using.
Even after reading Dodie Osteen’s book, some people still don’t understand the author’s recipe for her healing. They still do not know what actual steps she took. They read that she meditated on the promises of the Bible, so they meditate. But she was not talking about meditating for ten minutes and then putting the Bible down. She was talking about meditating in the Word all day long! When she talked about praying in the Spirit, she was talking about praying all day.
Have you ever heard that saying “you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time around”? I can tell you that it is so true. Be wise with who you spend your time with.
My newest book, Change Mastery, just released on Amazon! In it, I teach you “Making Sense of Change to Navigate Life’s Transitions”. You can pick up your copy here!