When people come to see me for performance coaching and to make personal changes in their lives, one of the first things I ask them to think about is who in their life is supportive of their goals, and who isn’t. When embarking on change such as losing weight and getting into shape, pursuing a new career, or expanding their existing business, support is needed and negative, non-supportive, fear-mongering friends are not. Knowing who is good for you is pretty simple. These are the people who respect you, are honest, and want you to succeed.

Then there are the people who could win the lottery and find something to complain about, or have the day off from work and complain, or get promoted and complain. They complain about everything and anything — job, friends, family, politicians, celebrities, government, and more. They aren’t as easy to spot because, after all, they are usually your friends. To help you weed out those who are supportive and those who aren’t, take a look at the questions below.

Think about people in your life and ask yourself the following:

  1. Is the person usually negative and unhappy in their career, with family, relationships?
  2. Do you feel exhausted after spending time with the person?
  3. Is the person demanding and self-absorbed?
  4. Is there a lot of drama and crisis in the person’s life?
  5. Does the person have a victim’s or helpless mentality?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you know that the person isn’t going to be supportive of you when pursuing your goals. Keep your distance from him or her and maintain boundaries. Now is the time to put your own needs first. Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t feel obligated to remain friends with them or to rescue them. Doing so only enables their behavior and drains you. Be strong and stand up for yourself. To appear vulnerable provides an opportunity for the fear-monger to suck the life out of you.

Speak up and be proud of your goals and what you’ve set your sights on. Align yourself with like-minded, positive people who share your interests and goals. This will help drive you forward.

Originally published at www.inc.com


  • Jonathan Alpert

    Psychotherapist, executive performance coach, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. Twitter: @JonathanAlpert

    Jonathan Alpert is a psychotherapist, columnist, performance coach and author in Manhattan. As a psychotherapist, he has helped countless couples and individuals overcome a wide range of challenges and go on to achieve success. He discussed his results-oriented approach in his 2012 New York Times Opinion piece, “In Therapy Forever? Enough Already”, which continues to be debated and garner international attention. Alpert is frequently interviewed by major TV, print and digital media outlets and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, FOX, and Good Morning America discussing current events, mental health, hard news stories, celebrities/politicians, as well as lifestyle and hot-button issues. He appears in the 2010 Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job commenting on the financial crisis. With his unique insight into how people think and their motivations, Alpert helps clients develop and strengthen their brands. He has been a spokesperson for NutriBullet, Liberty Mutual insurance, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Jonathan’s 2012 book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days has been translated into six languages worldwide. Alpert continues to provide advice to the masses through his Inc.com, Huffington Post, and Thrive columns. @JonathanAlpert