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Peer Group Expectations

Posted by Shannon Reichelt on
Peer Group Expectations

This topic is one that when my ears heard the words I grabbed the closest thing I could write on and furiously began scribbling away the foundation of this blog.  Even now the message is sinking in deeper and deeper.  This is a gem, trust me.  I will warn you, it might be a little uncomfortable.


There’s a common saying that the measure of your success can be determined by the 5 people you spend the most time with.  You know me by now that my quest is not just about money or business success but that inside feeling of fulfillment, where everything is in sync in your life.  That’s kind of the point right?
I’m currently doing my 21 day “homework” for a Tony Robbins seminar I’m attending in California in November.  He recited the words of a Marine Corps General who said while his troops are within the Marine Corps they operate at a massively high standard.  Yet when they leave only some stay at that high standard and the rest settle down.  Why is that? 

Most people’s lives are a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.


The key word here “expectations”. What’s interesting is often people don’t mean to bring you down.  They don’t realize they are doing this out of some fear of their own.  The fear might be that they will lose you as you grow.  They may fear they are less significant in your life.  Or perhaps what you are doing hits a nerve about something they are not happy with within their own lives.  Worst of all if you grow you won’t love and respect them anymore.  Its shocking to me that people feel they can’t strive to grow because of the reaction of their peers. 


I have a couple examples we can all relate with that paint this picture. Kids who are smart in school and love to study and learn are deemed not cool.  So they either stay strong and face ridicule or god forbid bullying, or they succumb to the peer expectations and choose whatever the cool kids are doing, even if its destructive behavior.  Another example, say you come from a family that has had it rough, maybe there’s no money, causing a chip on the shoulder.  When someone in the family wants to rise up and break the cycle, they face all kinds of struggles.  Who do you think you are?  You think you’re so much better than us.  I’ve personally heard this multiple times in my life.  Why?  Because you are making them feel lesser about themselves.  This is a travesty.  


I’m using pretty extreme examples.  Let’s take it down a notch.  What about your peers that are ok with mediocre and don’t think life can be anything you want and totally amazing?  Do they push you and support you to do things that will grow and expand you?  Or do they say ah let’s just xyz, you can do that another day.  Study?  You’re an adult you don’t need to study anymore!  Catch the difference?  Maybe you want to stop drinking or lose weight but your peers want to hold on to the old ways because that’s their identity.  That’s a big thing to face.  Do you succumb and go with the flow?  Or do you say screw it I want to do this!  In my opinion if my friends don’t want to see me grow and be happy they are pretty lousy friends and probably not worth my time and energy.


Most people’s lives are a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group. 

From what the Marine Corp General and Tony Robbins reiterated your peers should encourage you, support you, push you, be better at the things you want so you can learn to hold yourself to a higher standard.  This isn’t just business.  This is a higher standard for YOURSELF including values and traits.  Once we place a higher standard for how we conduct ourselves it spills over to our relationships and everything else.


I know this is a hard one to put into practice.  We don’t want to judge or dump our friends!  I’m not suggesting you go on a dump your friends rampage, or judgement spree.  I’d do some quiet reflection of who your peers are and be brutally honest when you ask yourself if they encourage, support and push your growth or if they drain you or hold you down into old ways you are looking to grow out of.  If you know you have some Debbie Downer friends maybe it’s a good idea to have a casual chat about how you want to increase your standards, maybe they do too!  (I hope!).  If you got a downer and they are only interested in being a downer and you just don’t want that anymore, it might be time for some distance.  If I’ve learned anything in my years it’s that you cannot make someone do something they don’t want to do, and you can’t want it more than them. 

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