345 | How to Choose Healthy Community

Our relationships have a profound impact on our lives.

They can have a healthy influence in our life or a toxic influence, and I want you to feel confident in how you evaluate the community in your life.

Learn the characteristics to look for, important action steps, and discover whether or not you have chosen a healthy community.

How to avoid toxic influence, and find healthy community:

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Chris LoCurto:

Who are the right people to hang out with? How do we know if people in our lives are toxic or healthy? More on that coming up next.

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

Welcome to the show folks. I am really excited to talk to you today about something that we all, all of us have to deal with. None of us can avoid. And if we get it right, it can be the greatest gift. Today we are talking about people, whether you know 5 or 50 or 500 people. Life has a universal truth and that is that people in relationships with people are unavoidable. So if you’ve ever known or talk to at least one other person, then this podcast is for you. But to all the monasteries all over the world who are listening, and I know y’all are, you could probably skip this episode. All right, so here are some things that I’ve heard that I absolutely love to hear. People will say things like, I just love this person. Isn’t this person just so great.

Uh, this person has been so good for me. This person has had a huge impact in my life. And another thing I’ve heard is people, you can’t live with them. You can’t live with them. Now, have you ever heard anything like that? Most of us probably have, but here’s the deal. People can be the greatest gifts in our lives, right? But sometimes they just simply make our lives more difficult. This is true everywhere, whether it’s in marriage and family, friends, neighbors, random strangers in the grocery store, leaders and team members, church members, social outings, doesn’t matter. People have a profound impact on our lives. And today I want to talk to you about what it looks like to fill your life with the right type of people. But before we do that, I want to tell you about Next Level Life where we do a deep dive into this very topic.

Next level life is our two day personal discovery experience. It’s a one on one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, to get unstuck in life. And to discover what’s holding you back from freedom and peace. Imagine this, what if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships with less conflict? Where would you be in a few months, a year, five years, if you had clarity, purpose, and peace? Probably a big difference from where you stand today. Now I know it’s possible because I’ve been where you are asking myself, is there more? There is and there is a better way, and it starts with Next Level Life. You can go to Chrislocurto.com/discover to take the step. Now, if you’re struggling with this contentment, regrets, or not feeling good enough, which most of you are, if you’re filled with anxiety or your relationships are lacking, don’t keep going through the same motions every single day.

Learn how to move past the thing’s robbing you of peace. Go to chrislocurto.com/discover and take the next step. All right, folks, so who is the right company? How do we know if people in our life are toxic or healthy? So one of the things that we do in our next level life, one of the things we help people to do is to go through what we call a relationship evaluation. So let’s look at, uh, some of the relationships in our lives. So right now, what I want you to think of is the three most influential people in your life. Now these are people in your life. I’m not talking about virtual mentors or anything like that. I have plenty of those myself. But I’m talking about the people that you spend time with who influence you the most. Okay? So take a moment and really think about them.

Who are you closest to? Who has impacted you the most? And by the way, this can be in a good way. It could be in a bad way. Whoever influences you the most, that’s what we’re looking for. Okay? So take some time and think about that and get those people in your head. And you may have those people right now in your mind and make sure that you’re specifically picking, individuals and think about them individually. Don’t think of them as a group either. This next section isn’t about judgment. It’s about gaining perspective. So as we go through this, some people think, oh, this is about making somebody a monster. Or this is about making somebody a victim or you know, this is judging people. This is not the purpose, okay? This is for perspective sake. This is actually absolutely subjective to how you see the person, okay?

So that’s what we’re looking for. I want you to pick one of those people, the probably the one you spend the most time with. So the person who is the biggest influencer in your life, good or bad, that you spend the most time with. And I’m going to list some attributes and I want you to assign them a number from Zero to 10 now, zero means the thing that I say, you do not see it in them at all. They don’t have this at all. Zero amount of it. 10 is man, they absolutely embody the thing that I’ve just said. Okay? It’s very obvious you see this in them. So in between their 5 is middle of the road, right? Here’s what I want you to do. Put that first person in your head. I’m going to ask you about three things and I want you to scale them on a scale of zero to 10 how selfish is that person?

Zero to 10. How critical is that person? How controlling is that person? That’s just three areas that I want you to think about. Add up that total in your mind, whatever that is. I’m gonna give you a second to think about it and remember that number. Now, same person, same person. I want you to do this with all the three people in your brain, but same person. Once again, Zero means you do not experience this and them in 10 it’s off the charts, right? How supportive is that person? Zero to 10 how trustworthy, how well do they put healthy boundaries in place? Add that total up as well. Now with this one person, I want you to think about the two different totals. Was their first total higher than the second? If it was how high, you know how high was their first total of toxic attributes?

Because those actually are toxic attributes, right? How high was it? How high was the healthy attributes? Now, this is only three pieces. There’s many more toxic attributes and many more healthy attributes. Uh, in fact, uh, there’s so many more that apply. So maybe they’re not selfish, but maybe they’re a victim, you know, or maybe they’re jealous. So same goes for healthy attributes. You can get a full list to evaluate the health of your relationships at chrislocurto.com/345 the key is, is as we look through the healthy and toxic attributes we see in people, where do they rank? Where do the most influential people in our life rank? Once again, let me be very clear on this; I am not wanting you to judge the crap out of the influential people in your life. I want you to gain perspective so that you can understand something.

Who are you spending time with? Who are you allowing to influence you? This isn’t for you to judge them. This isn’t for you to treat them badly, make them monsters, any of that. It’s for you to discover who are you spending time with? Are you spending time with healthy people? Are you spending time with toxic people? Now the human tendency is to gravitate towards what we know because it’s comfortable, even if it’s toxic. So for a lot of folks, if they come out of a very toxic household, um, if they come out of toxic relationships, then it is not surprising that they will surround themselves with controlling people, manipulative people, unhealthy people, right? If you come out of a very healthy culture, you know, healthy home, healthy teaching, healthy leading, then it’s not surprising that you will probably not allow very toxic people in your life.

So what we want you to do is to take a look at who are you allowing to influence you. Now you’re listening to this show. So I’m hoping that you’re thinking that as a virtual mentor in your life, that this is healthy for you. But let me ask this question. What else are you putting in your mind? Are you focusing on God? Are you studying God’s word? Are you spending time watching really crappy movies, listening to really crappy music, spending time in really crappy places? We have to understand that, again, as humans, we have a tendency to gravitate towards those things. So if you can identify your current relationships and ask yourselves, is this somebody that should be influencing me? Is this somebody I should be hanging with? Are My current relationships giving me life? Or are they draining me? Are they, are they healthy?

Are they toxic? Are they lifting me up, uh, in life? Are they hindering me? And I’m not saying, hey, you can’t hang out with somebody who is toxic. I’m just suggesting, should that person be influencing you? Should that be an influencer in your life? So there’s a great book that teaches along the same lines as this called “Safe People” by Dr. Henry Cloud. And I want to give you some insight largely based out of this book to help you really identify safe and unsafe people. So here are five characteristics of an unsafe person. The first is, unsafe people do not like to admit their weaknesses. It’s amazing. Sometimes people will try hard to hide their weaknesses by focusing on your weaknesses instead. Surprise. I know you’ve never had anybody in your life that’s ever done that, right? The moment you see something that’s a weakness in their life, they’re hammering you on your weaknesses, right?

Putting you down as an easy way to build themselves up. So if you are the one with the problems, then they can feel superior. It gives them power, it makes them feel better about them selves on. So if people don’t like to admit their weaknesses, unsafe people are defensive. All my gosh, a self assured person is always open to feedback, expressions of of concern or criticism, especially by people who love them. But if you confront someone with your concerns, and again, please understand. If you’re just attacking somebody, then of course they’re going to be defensive. If somebody tries to attack me on something because they’re trying to set my reality or trying to take me down because they’re struggling with something, then guess what? I’m going to be a little bit defensive. But I’m probably gonna use the tools that we use here and not allow them to set my reality.

Right? So what we’re talking about is if you’re confronting somebody with good quality criticism or concerns or whatever, because you love, you love them, right? And they get upset or angry, they’re not able to hear you are willing to take responsibility for their own actions. That’s because they’re unsafe. They don’t want to hear those things. They become defensive. Unsafe people are self-righteous. Instead of humble, these people see themselves as, as above everyone else, and they refuse to see that their own negative qualities actually exist. And they can often project their own flaws and insecurities onto other people. It’s the most amazing thing. You see it all the time. It might be something that they’re struggling with. So if they’re struggling with control, guess what? They’re now saying that you struggle with control. I’m not saying that they’re wrong, but to project somebody else’s flaws onto somebody else or their insecurities onto somebody else is absolutely unsafe to be around. Unsafe people avoid facing their issues.

Now it’s far easier, far easier for an unsafe person to blame others for their problems then to admit that they’ve got a problem or you know, take steps to deal with those issues themselves. That’s why I said is we’re looking at your greatest influencers. Our goal is not to point at them and say, look at how bad they are. It’s the goal is to go, what am I allowing to influence me? Right? If you are healthy or at least trying to be healthy, then you can be very honest about what you’re allowing to influence you. So those that can’t face their issues, their own issues, they treat others like, you know, with a lack of empathy. You know, when they’re upset, they find fault in others. Uh, they often fail to forgive others for their own mistakes, right? Because what happens if they do forgive?

They can’t face their own issues. They sure as heck can’t forgive you for yours. It keeps them in that place of control. At least in their mind. That’s what they convinced themselves. Number five, unsafe people demand trust instead of earning it. Now, trust can only be built over time, right? You have to. I have to be able to do things that cause you to trust me so it grows when we experience like repeated and consistent caring behavior from other people, right? Unsafe people often believe that you should trust them right away and the crazy thing is they act hurt or they become defensive if you don’t. The big key here is trust has to be earned, so it’s one of those things like I, I will share with people a lot. If you’re around family that says blood is thicker than anything else, right? You should always put your family first.

You should always people who demand those things. If you’re in a healthy family, you never hear healthy. People in a healthy family say blood is thicker than water, right? You don’t hear healthy people in a healthy family go. You should always put your family first. Your family comes first, right? Sisters before misters, brothers, before others. Unsaved people do. Why? Because they need to control that. If you are not putting them first, then if they don’t feel trusted by you, then they are out of control. They demand that things go the way that they want them to go. So unlike an unsafe person, a safe person should bring out the best in you. They should draw you closer to who you were meant to be, right? A safe person should draw out your, your gifts, your talents, they should help you to love better. A safe person should look like at least a few of the things I’m about to run through.

But there’s a caveat as I go through this. Okay? The things that I’m about to hit, if you’re being severely toxic or hurting, people are doing really bad crap, then I’m going to kick that out the window. Okay? So that’s the caveat here. If you’re being self destructive or hurting other people, then we’re probably going to, you know, make some adjustments on the things that I’m about to say. A person who accepts you just as you are as a safe person. Right? With the caveat that I just threw in place. So if you’re different or if you don’t think the same way, or if you like things aesthetically as opposed to economically or if you are a reader but you don’t like movies, a person who is safe except you for who you are, right? When you take a look at who Jesus sat down and had meals with in an eastern culture and an eastern mindset of Middle Eastern mindset, the person that you eat with is the person you accept.

It does not mean that you accept what they’re doing, but it means that you accept the person. Jesus sat down with prostitutes and tax collectors. Tax collectors were the ones that were literally cheating their own people. I probably don’t need to explain the other one. Jesus excepted those people by sitting down with them. It doesn’t mean he accepted what they did, right? So that’s the big key. As I go through this, I am not telling you that this whacked out idea of God as being the God of only love nowadays that you’re seeing go around the world in this and you see it in churches. You see it all over, that Jesus is only love the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament aren’t the same gods. Yes they are. You’re not reading the actual book, but this is a God who does love and accept his people.

He wants them to do better. He wants them to follow him, right? A person who loves you no matter how you are or how you’re acting or what you do. Once again, you know, if you love somebody doesn’t, just because you love them doesn’t mean that you accept the things that they’re doing. Doesn’t mean that you continue to, uh, allow or you definitely don’t encourage or enable people doing bad stuff. So this is the balance in here, right? A person whose influence develops your ability to be thoughtful and be responsible is a safe person. Someone who creates love and good works within you. Someone who believes in you and gives you an opportunity to grow someone you can be yourself around as well as someone who helps you love yourself and others more. That’s a safe person. That’s the kind of influence that you want in your life.

That’s the kind of person that you want around you. Somebody who loves you, who influences you well, who develops you, who pushes you to be better, who pushes you to be stronger, who helps you to be stronger, who helps you to find the tools to be a better version of you. Somebody who will call you out in a healthy way when you’re not being healthy, right? Somebody who cares enough to go, hey, you’re making really bad decisions over here, and I’m going to be the person who is not only gonna, you know, pointed out, but I’m also going to be the person who goes arm and arm with you to solve this, to help you through this. That’s a healthy person. That’s a safe person. That’s somebody who cares, that is somebody who is worth having in your life and influencing you. So before we get into the action steps of this episode, my VP of leadership development is going to tell you about how to grow you as a leader.

Hey, Joel Fortner here. I’m the Vice President of Leadership Development on Chris’s team and I oversee our Next Level Mastermind program. Next level Mastermind lays out a clear path to success for you and your business. It shows you how to make the right decisions, solve complex problems, and lead more effectively. This is why collectively our clients saw on average a 46% increase in net profit over the last 12 months. I know business is tough and we build a system around you and give you the tools to help you win. To learn more, visit us at chrislocurto.com/mastermind again, that is chrislocurto.com/mastermind

All right, we are back and we are hitting the action steps for choosing the right company, right? Choosing the right people to be around. So here’s how to choose the right company and have healthy people in your life. First thing always, I’m always going to teach you. Start with you, examine yourself. Think about the list of healthy and toxic attributes and uh, the best thing you can do to find healthy people is to become one. Work on becoming a healthy person, a safe person. Now you can’t become one if you’re in denial about who you are. So if you really want to find out how people think about you, subjectively, ask them to rank you on, on the download, right? Give it to people you can trust, right? Not the person that wants to control you or take you down. Give it to people you can trust and really rank.

Where do you fall as a person in a healthy or toxic attributes? And what are you willing to do about your own problems? What are you willing to do about your own issues? Uh, folks that come here and work with us, understand we do not point out monsters and victims in their lives and allow people to be victims. We constantly are pointing at the person going, what’s your responsibility? I have to take responsibility for how I am being unhealthy. I’ll never forget when I was in youth ministry, which seems like, I was going to say 20 years ago, it was actually more than 20 years ago. Uh, it was decades ago when I was in youth ministry. And I’ll never forget that there were these kids, I had never done this thought about this hurt about this, but there are kids that would carry a list.

These boys, they would carry a list and I think it must have come from some nineties youth teaching, I dunno, but they’d have this list of the girlfriend that they wanted to be with, right? So these Christian boys would have in their wallet this list, and I didn’t hear about it until there was another youth leader who saw one is like, pull it out and said, hey, see all these amazing things on this list that you want your girlfriend to be like when you finally, you know that you’re praying to God for, you want to know how you get this girl. You become the kind of guy that that kind of girl would actually date. And right now you’re not at all. I remember just being “Bam!”, That was powerful. Hey, listen, if you want healthy people in your life, you gotta be healthy, right?

If you want healthy influencers in your life, you have to examine you. You have to choose to be healthy yourself. So if you’re choosing to be toxic, do not be surprised if the people around you are toxic, right? Misery loves company. So if you’re going to be healthy, you have to choose to be healthy. Second thing is, think about your relationships. Identify if they’re toxic or healthy. I am not saying that you can’t be around anybody who is toxic. I’m saying ask yourself the question, are you allowing yourself to be influenced by toxic people? I have very healthy people that are close to me. My inner circle of people are healthy. They’re striving like crazy to be more Christ-like to be more loving, to be more like shepherds, to be more what God wants them to be, to be more obedient to him, right?

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t allow people around me who are not toxic, right? My job is to be healthy to other people, right? To those toxic folks. My job is to shepherd them, to help them, to grow them, to love and to develop them, right? So identify who in your life is either toxic or healthy, and then ask the question, is this person influencing me and should they be influencing? Right? So you can get the episode download on [email protected] slash three four five third thing is create appropriate boundaries with in your . Now, sometimes what keeps healthy people further away from you is that toxic people right next to you. Okay, so once again, like I said on the on the first thing, misery loves company. If you surround yourself with toxic people, I will try and help you. I will speak into your life.

I will do what I can, but if you’re going to surround yourself with toxic people, then guess what? The last thing they want for you and they want for themselves is the health. They want to be victims. They want to be complainer’s. They want to, you know, call everything out as horrible and bad and just have that total victim mentality. You need to make sure that you put appropriate boundaries in place with toxic people. If you’ve surrounded yourself or allowed yourself to be surrounded by toxic people, do something about it. Distance yourself from that right. Put healthy boundaries in place so that you don’t keep healthier people out of your life. Four thing. Ask healthy people. Ask them, ask them questions. Ask them, what do you see in me? Ask them where can I grow? What do you see me? Where do you, what are the areas that you can see in me that I can grow in as somebody,

It’s so funny to me as somebody who spends his life helping people. There are oftentimes people around me who know me that will not ask me to speak into their lives. They don’t want to come to me and say, Hey, listen, what do you see? What are some areas I can grow? And instead they want to prove to me that they are healthy or they want to prove to me that they can grow in these areas. Folks, listen to me. The guy who teaches this stuff has been a colossal failure in his life, not once, not twice, 11 million times. The reason I am able to do the things that I do is because my failures are the very things that have taught me, praise God, how to fix this stuff, how to be healthier, how to put healthy relationships in place, how to find healthy influencers, how to be somebody who’s healthier, right?

So find healthy people and ask them questions. What do you see? How can I grow? What do you think I should change? This is going to do two things in your life. The first thing it’s going to teach you how to be healthier, right? Because you have to humble yourself to ask those questions. You have to humble yourself to allow somebody to speak into your life on things that you need to grow in or things that you need to fix. Now, caveat again, I keep saying, ask healthy people, so don’t go to that family member who is controlling. That’s not the person you want to ask this question to, right? Don’t go to that friend who constantly is a victim. Talk to healthy people. The second thing it’s gonna do for you is it’s going to show the healthy person they can trust you. Or at least that they can begin to trust, uh, your intentions because you’re at least asking the question.

I’m going to tell you I am massive on implementation. People ask me all the time, Chris, who’s your greatest client? And I will tell you the greatest client is the client who implements that person is not just listening to what I’m saying, but they’re actually doing something with it. In the Hebrew, uh, there is a word called Shema and it means to hear and obey to hear and to do so. Um, follow that, right? Find people that are healthy. Ask them what they can, uh, how they can speak into your life and give you guidance and direction and then don’t just hear it. Do something with it. Fifth thing, soak in as much time with healthy people as you can. Soak up the time. I am not saying spend every second asking them all kinds of questions. The more you’re around healthy people, the more you just commune with healthy people, the more you will be blown away on how it absolutely rubs off on you.

The more you spend time with people who aren’t laughing at the horribly dirty jokes, the more time you spend with people who aren’t spending their time in, you know really bad places or you know, around victims and toxic people, the more you’ll choose to do the same. Spend as much time with healthy people as you can so that you can grow in being a healthy person yourself. As you do this, guess what? You will become somebody who can rub off on other people who are designed to be healthy as well. So folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Hopefully this has helped you to look at who you want to surround yourself with, or at least who you want to influence you. Once again, my inner circle are great influencers. They’re people I love immensely. They’re healthy and they’re striving to be healthier. That doesn’t mean that I’m only around healthy people. I am around all kinds of people, but when I get influenced, it’s by healthy people. So choose to do the same. Hopefully this has helped you today. I hope this episode has served you well. I encourage you to subscribe, rate, and share this podcast to help more people join our community, and as always, take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.