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The Five People Who Changed My Life

In the introduction of the book, "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell describes a small, vibrant Italian community unscathed by stress and worry and the accompanying erosions to physical and mental health. His conclusion that this town's outstanding health conditions were linked to the harmonious nature of the community members and care of nature itself supports his own thesis that "who we are cannot be separated from where we are from".

I began reflecting on the men and women in my community who have nurtured me in life changing ways. It was fascinating to discover that although the people and seasons rotated somewhat, they all appeared to fall into these five categories.

The Insider

A spouse, family member or a close friend.

These individuals are well-versed in my favorite things (bike rides to the bakery on an early summer morning!); pet peeves (when people interrupt) and most importantly, what motivates me (goal setting & exploration). They are the constant-a reliable force in both the tumultuous times and in the unremarkable times. I'm much more likely to take risks when I feel safe.

The Outsider

A co-worker, boss or family friend.

This is someone intimately acquainted with my professional strengths (interpersonal skills) and weaknesses (working too hard and caring too much ;)) and is a pro at providing regular, direct and honest assessments for each of these areas. A former boss once told me, "Julie, when you rush around before work it makes people feel like you're not in control. Get everything done ahead of time." That one hurt, but I've never forgotten it...and I definitely rush less.

The One You Want To Be

A person who embodies the things you value.

If I am lucky enough to know them personally, these are the individuals I ask out to dinner or karaoke so I can soak up some of their awesomeness. These top-of-their-gamers have also been public figures like Tony Robbins, Brene Brown, Alicia Keys and Simon Sinek.