“Birds of the same feather flock together.”
Posted by kmcadenhead on February 15, 2010
“To have a good friend is one of the highest delights in life; to be a good friend is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
There’s a well-known proverb out there that I love (and hate all at the same time) – you are what you eat. And, although it’s a difficult concept to grasp, here’s what I’ve come up with: my bum probably does resemble cinnamon buns more than I’d care to admit and my arms remind me of green beans (probably because I don’t go to kickboxing as often as I should). Either way, this analogy leads me to something that, we, as students and young professionals can all learn from: you are who you surround yourself with.
When you think about it, it makes complete sense. If you want to make yourself savvy in the financial arena to learn more about stocks and bonds, then you’re obviously going to want to spend time with someone who knows a lot about stocks and bonds. It’s a common ground you two will have. Unfortunately, this is a door that swings both ways. If you spend time people who lie, cheat and steal, then it’s inevitable that you will, too.
When I was in college, I was very selective with my friends. I wasn’t, nor will I ever be, about quantity. I’d rather have five best friends than 25 acquaintances. I specifically chose friends who had qualities that I wanted to emulate. This post is also being used as a shout-out to one of my best friends, Megan, so I’ll use her as an example.
I’ve known Megan for about three years now and I can honestly say that she has only influenced my life in a positive way. Megan and I have a lot in common from our work ethic, faith, leadership qualities and expectations of ourselves and others (and, as a side note, we have GREAT senses of humor). When we were in school, I always admired Megan’s appreciation for learning and her knowledge of the public relations industry, in general. She was the president for the student chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association at Florida State. Megan had those qualities that I wanted in myself (i.e., character and time management) and I found that the more time I spent with her, the more I challenged myself to do things that would make my qualities stand out (i.e., honesty and enthusiasm). As time passed, we began to pick up on the other’s traits and a great friendship flourished – one that I’ll always have. (And, lucky for me, she loved watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 and The Hills on Monday nights so this became a weekly ritual).
After graduation, Megan took a huge leap of faith and moved to Chicago before securing a job. I’ve always admired her for making such a gutsy move, but she did it because she knew that she wanted to be in Chicago – that that’s where she’d be happy. Within a week (maybe two), she landed an awesome internship at an agency in the city. She always gave 100% and dedicated herself to the accounts she was working on. She interned there for about eight or nine months before securing the job she has now.
Megan was definitely capable of working in this industry, but because of the economy she wasn’t able to land a gig in Chicago. But, she took advantage of every networking opportunity she could and remained positive. The full-time job she has now, Megan got because of one of her internships in Tallahassee – weird how things work out like that, huh?
A few weeks ago, Megan packed up, left Chicago and moved to Royal Oak, Michigan (right outside of Detroit). Last week, she started as the Associate Planning Director in the Corporate Communications department for Ford Motor Company. I don’t really know what that means or what her official job duties are, but I know it’s an amazing position and there isn’t any one person more qualified than my best friend. I’m so happy for her and proud of her that, despite it all, she never lost hope or determination. I am lucky to call her a friend and can only hope she’s learned as much from me as I have from her.
So, let this be a lesson to every young person out there. Find people who have qualities that you want to have and I guarantee you, those qualities will start to rub off on you. Megan’s character, leadership and sense of humor and fashion have definitely rubbed off on me and whenever I need advice or guidance, she’s one of the first people on my list to ask.
Take a close look at the five people you spend the most time with: are they a representation of what you want others to see and recognize in you?