I was recently having a conversation with a friend and colleague who had decided to dedicate themselves to pursuing their passions within the health and fitness industry. I was ecstatic to hear about their willingness to take a risk and dive into something they truly cared about.

Unfortunately, they informed me, my feelings of excitement were not shared by everyone. In fact, the people closest to them disagreed with their decision. Her friends tried to dissuade her from this decision, tried to talk her out of following her passions. They used some hurtful tactics in efforts to do this.

Blogger Chris Guillebeau wrote about this very same problem on July 21st, 2011 in his blog article Legacy Projects and the Love of True Friends. If you have not had the chance to read it, I would highly encourage it.

The conversation with my friend, and Chris’ article got me really thinking about the influencers we all have in our lives. Friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, competitors; each can push us closer to success… or further from it.

If you were to inventory the people you interact with on a regular basis; how many of those individuals are energizing you to take the next step in your pursuit? Flip side; how many are (whether it stems from fear, jealousy, or misunderstanding) trying to prevent you from taking that step?

True friends will support you relentlessly, knowing your passions are worth every ounce of investment you put into it. So what would that make those who do not support you?

Can you begin the difficult process (and I assure you, it won’t be easy) of disengaging yourself from the negative influencers in your life, and repositioning that time and energy to the positive influencers?

Does it make for some periods of loneliness? Absolutely.

Does it payoff in the end? Absolutely.