If you had been an artist seeking greatness in the 1400s, moving to Florence, Italy to intern and associate with some of the greatest artists in history would have been a good idea, like a high-tech engineer moving to Silicon Valley in the 1980s. Although having a nurturing environment does not guarantee success, there is no arguing it helps, but environments go far beyond a group of professional mentors. Your family, friends, customers, home, office, possessions, ideas, values, energy, feelings, body, spirit and the outdoors all work together to form an ecosystem that supports your life. Having a nurturing environment is not the result of chance; it is the result of consistent efforts to build and refine all its individual aspects. Fortunately, these are within our control if we put forth the effort to shape them to meet our needs and desires.

The remarkable thing about our environment is that it works silently in the background to affect our energy, focus, motivation, health, goals and aspirations to mention just a few. Whether we are working or playing, it continually influences our attitude, our thoughts and even our dreams. A positive environment is like having a mentor working with you day and night, seven days a week encouraging and inspiring you. On the other hand, a negative environment can be just the opposite. It can undermine your efforts, raise doubts, bring on depression and even trigger illness. It is just as important to eliminate the negative aspects of our environment as it is to build positive ones.

When my daughter was visiting prospective colleges while still in high school, she stopped in a town where she had attended elementary school to reconnect with some of her childhood friends. At the end of the evening she was invited to a party a few nights later, but declined. Her old friends had no interest in college, and she did not want anything to undermine her excitement exploring her college choices. Managing your environment is often just that simple.


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