Who you associate with is important in business and in life. You should surround yourself with people who add value. In business it may be a mentor or connector. In your personal life it may just be someone who makes you laugh. Never underestimate the value of humor and laughter.

The saying “everything is who you know” exists for a reason. In the context of business, this makes a difference.

I used to grab lunch or coffee with anyone who asked or was connected with me. Over time, I came to value my time enough to think about who I was meeting with and whether they added value. Of course some people did and some people didn’t. I actually kept some of the people who didn’t add value to me professionally because I decided they added value in other ways. They may have been someone who makes me laugh or with whom I really enjoy our conversations. By making these decisions I was being honest with myself about the company I was keeping, why I shared their company, and the value proposition.

Making these assessments was a valuable exercise. By thinning my “regular” contacts I spent time on in relation to my business, it freed me up to be connected with and meet new people. The new people then went into my continuing analysis of whether they added value. Sometimes it took more than one lunch or meeting to make this determination. Once I did, they were on or off my list. Over time, some people who I took off of my list made it back on for various reasons, all of which had to do with the value proposition. This happened because most things aren’t static and someone can go from not adding value to adding value or vise versa, so be open to reassessing whether someone should be in your circle.

I’m speaking to the company you keep in the business context because this is a business blog. The same rules apply in your personal life. Whether they apply with family I leave to you, but your choices to maintain relationships or not belongs to you alone. As we head into the holiday season, it’s a good time to assess the company you keep. It may cause you to rethink some connections and relationships, but it also will remind you of the wealth you have based on the people you surround yourself with, which is something to be thankful for.