Whether we realized it or not we become like the 5 people we spend the most time with. We start behaving like them, thinking like them, looking like them, we even make decisions based on what we think they would want us to do.

For example, there are many research findings that prove we are more likely to gain weight if a close friend or a family member becomes overweight. Similarly, we are more likely to engage in an exercise program if we surround ourselves with the fit and health-oriented people.

So, who are the top 5 influencers in your life? Do they make you feel positive? Do they inspire and motivate you to be the best version of yourself? Do they support and encourage you to achieve your goals? Or, do they tell you that “it can’t be done”, “it’s not possible”, “you aren’t good enough”, “you will most likely fail”.

If you feel emotionally drained by the energetic vampires in your life, you may want to detox your life and get rid of the relationships that aren’t serving you in a positive way.

The negative people, the naysayers, the Debbie Downers and the chronic complainers are like a dark cloud over your limitless potential. They hold you back and discourage you from even trying because they’re afraid that if you succeed, you’ll prove them wrong.

Have the courage to remove the negative people from your life and watch how your energy and enthusiasm automatically blossom. Letting go of the relationships that aren’t serving us is a critical step if we want to become more positive, fulfilled and successful.

Detoxing your life from negative influencers will also allow you to become the person you truly want to be. You’ll free yourself from constant judgement, negativity and lack of support.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Stay away from chronic complainers.
  • Stop participating in meaningless conversations.
  • Share your ideas only with people who are supportive or willing to provide constructive criticism.
  • Minimize your interactions with “friends”, coworkers and family members who are negative, discouraging and bitter.
  • Stop watching TV and reading negative posts on social media (yes, mainstream media is a major negative influence in our lives!).
  • Surround yourself with positive and successful people (remember, we become like the top 5 people we spend our time with!).
  • Find new, like-minded friends, join networking and support groups, or find a positive coach or a mentor.

If you want to make a positive change in your life, remember, the people around you have a critical influence on your energy, growth and probability of success.

Positive people bring out the best in you and make you feel motivated and happy. They help you when you’re in need, encourage you to go after your dreams and are there to celebrate your successes or support you as you move past your challenges. Pick your top 5 wisely!


  • Joanna Echols

    Wellness & High Performance Expert (MS, MA, PBC, RYT)

    Joanna Echols (MS, MA, PBC, RYT200) specializes in providing health, wellness, high-performance, and leadership coaching and consulting services to organizations and individual clients. Joanna helps her clients achieve optimal health, increase productivity, maximize performance and thrive in their personal and professional life. Incorporating nearly two decades of education and experience in organizational management, leadership and health and wellness, Joanna has developed a unique lifestyle and workstyle programs that assist her clients in overcoming burnout, chronic stress and other workplace and personal life challenges. Joanna has been recognized for her influential leadership style, effective change management, and powerful problem-solving skills. Her professional experience includes nearly two decades of successful global leadership and corporate management career in the Fortune 500 corporations, teaching and training roles in a variety of educational systems, as well as successful roles in media, advertising, real estate, health and wellness industries. For Individuals Joanna’s customized and research-based coaching centers around awareness, alignment, and action. Joanna equips individuals with health and wellness plans that boost energy and vitality; stress reduction tools that increase consciousness and focus; and productivity and leadership techniques that balance and enhance lives—achieving desired results for her clients both at work, and at home. For Organizations Joanna’s philosophy of wellness in the workplace highlights the connection between wellbeing and productivity, and provides organizational leaders with the strategies, systems, and tools needed to transform burnt out, disengaged, and dissatisfied workers into innovative, high-energy, high-performing employees that function as a team to produce organizational success. Her teachings include workplace wellbeing programs, focus, productivity and performance strategies, creativity and problem-solving techniques, and leadership and executive coaching. It’s no secret—success without health and fulfillment does not equal happiness. Without vitality, clarity of purpose, and a strategic action plan for your personal and professional life, stress and burnout are inevitable. Joanna leads the way in redefining how leaders work and live, so they can perform their best in their careers, while also having the most fulfilling and enjoyable life experience outside of their working hours. To learn more, visit startlivingyourway.com, or contact Joanna directly: [email protected] Credentials: Master’s Degree (MA) in Health and Wellness Coaching Master’s Degree (MS) in Organizational Communication Master’s Degree (MA) in Political Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200, Yoga Alliance) 15 years of corporate leadership experience (Fortune 500)