Look at your phone really quick. Who are the top 5 people that you speak to the most? 

What do you often speak about? Do these people encourage your faith or are they people who you don’t understand your faith? Do these people add value to you or do they take away from your life? Do these people motivate you to achieve your dreams or are these people always telling you to be “realistic”? Do they have a “9 to 5” mentality and you have an entrepreneurial mindset? Do they have goals that they are working towards or are they simply existing? 

What about their character? Are they people of integrity? Are they people who keep their word? Are they people who can be trusted? Are they people that help you become the woman you want to be or do they want to hold you hostage to someone that you used to be? Are they poverty minded or do they talk prosperity? 

Why am I all in your business today? 

Because “Bad company corrupts good character.” It doesn’t matter how great of individual you are, how motivated you are to achieve your dreams or how determined you are to live a whole, faith-filled lifestyle. If you don’t surround yourself with other people who are on the same trajectory that you are then you are setting yourself up for unnecessary delays, conflict and failures. 

You’ve probably heard the quote, “If you’re surrounded by five broke people then chances are than you’re the sixth one.” 

So true! When you surround yourself with people who are not thinking thoughts of wealth (not just getting a job to pay bills and survive) then sooner or later you will be influenced by their ways of thinking even though their philosophy is rooted in failure. 

There’s a lie that tells us that you can surround yourself around these type of people and not be impacted by their nature. Absolutely not true. 

The more time you spend with people who do not think like you, the more you’ll be exposed to their way of thinking. You can tell what a person believes by the words that come out of their mouth and what actions they take. 

We are influenced by what we expose ourselves to. That’s why it’s such a challenge to think abundance, success and achieving your God-given destiny when you are not surrounded by it nor have you had an example to follow. 

Many of us grew up in communities where achieving your destiny was not modeled. Our parents taught us to go to school, get a good job and work hard which is good but why is it that so many of us have followed that blueprint but are still struggling? 

It’s rough to be the first in your family to break away and do something better. It’s so easy to accept the status quo and be like everyone else around you not realizing that that’s just a trap to keep you from living out the assignment of your life. 

Most of these relationships that we have that can hold us back tend to be because we want to be loyal to people that perhaps we grew up with or may be members in our family. But sometimes you have to be willing to walk alone or get around different people in order to help you achieve what you desire and become the woman who you were called to be. 

If you don’t take the measures to seek out new relationships and only stick to what you know out of fear or comfort then you are going to experience unnecessary conflict. 

What do I mean? 

Let’s say that you’re entrepreneurial minded but all your friends and family have a 9 to 5 mentality. You decide to tell your family and friends that you want to start a catering business and instead of them celebrating you, they tell you every reason why it’s not going to work. You walk away feeling defeated and abort your mission. Why? Because you allowed their thinking to impact your decision. 

Unnecessary conflict. 

I’m not telling you to ditch your friends and family but you have to get some new friends, mentors and coaches who are going to help you get from where you are to where you want to be – not people who are going to encourage nonsense in your life. 

For example, I have friends who I know I can call on when I’m struggling with my faith. When I call them, they understand exactly what I’m dealing with and they will speak life into me. Not only that, they will hold me accountable for my actions and tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. They are women of faith, purpose and integrity and will not let me get away with anything less than such. 

These women are not going to support sloppy behavior, they are going to call me out on my mess. You need people like that too. 

This is how many people end of committing all sorts of mistakes because they surround themselves with people who encourage their mediocrity. Let’s say you’re having trouble in your marriage and you’re tempting to cheat. Do you know how many people fall into that temptation because the people around them incite their behavior? 

Don’t let this be you. Bad company corrupts good character. 

It’s not your job to try to change people. Some of us want people to come on the journey with us but not everyone is going to make it. You have to fight for yourself, your wholeness, your integrity and most importantly your destiny. That means that you’re going to have to make some hard decisions and eliminate those who are not adding value to where you are and where you want to go. 

I know this is hard. But what’s helped me is that I have put the relationships in my life into “departments.” I have relationships that are in the faith department and these are the people who I call on when I’m going through intense personal battles. I have relationships in the business and ministry department and these are the people that I discuss my business goals with. I have the elder department where I reach out to people who are way older than me and filled with wisdom and knowledge about life. I have the girl time department and these are the people I call when I may want to have a little fun and do something super girly. 

My relationships have changed drastically as I’ve grown in my purpose and in my womanhood. Sentimental attachments can be holding you back from letting some people go and making room for new people. 

There are times I wanted to quit and it was those faithful people in my life who would not let me. Imagine if I would have spoken to the wrong person about my struggles? You probably won’t be reading this! 

Learn to manage your expectations from people as people can only think to the level they’ve been exposed to. You cannot expect your mother to understand your ambition to build a career as a successful television host because she’s never seen it done before. Don’t try to get her understand, simply show her and have compassion because she simply has not seen any different. 

I love to share one of my favorite quotes from Bishop TD Jakes, “When you are a giraffe and you receive criticism from turtles, they are reporting the view from the level that they’re on.” Don’t allow turtles to talk you out of your giraffe vision. 

Make it your mission to expose yourself to people, places and things that motivate you. Walk into that Chanel store and touch that Chanel bag. Drive through that wealthy neighborhood and believe that you can live there one day soon. Send that person you admire an email and set up a lunch date with them. 

What will you do this week to eliminate any bad company in your life? What if God is waiting for you to clean up the relationships in your life that are no longer serving you in order to bring the relationships that will take you into the new chapter of your life? 

XOXO, 

Maria I. Melendez 
Founder & CEO 
@embraceherlegacy