I’m not sure if this is a new thing, but for sure it’s new to me. And thank you to my friend, Margo, for introducing it to me.

O.Q.P. is an acronym that stands for “Only Quality People.”  What does that mean, exactly?  According to my research, it’s a goal to surround ourselves with Only Quality People.  And what does that mean, exactly?  I’m here to break it down.

Step One is to figure out our own definition of “quality people.”  This was the easy part.  In my life, quality people are those who support me, enhance me, inspire me to do better, bring me happiness, and make me laugh.   

Step Two is to figure out how to create some distance between you and those people in your world who do not fit your definition.   You might want to consider whether it’s time to dump an old friend.  If it turns out that it’s fairly impossible for you to distance yourself (maybe from your mother or your teenager) then create some boundaries.  You can interrupt your mom’s negative tirade about your grandma if you do it nicely.  You can tell your teenager that you’ll be happy to take her to Target as soon as she cleans up her room.  And her attitude.

Step Three is to figure out how to connect with quality people and then add them to your inner circle.  This is the tricky part because it may involve stepping away from your comfort zone.  Whether you’re looking to expand your business through networking, or find a couple of new tennis partners, your ability to connect with people can be tested pretty much every day and everywhere.  I’m lucky.  I inherited my dad’s ability to make new friends and it has served me well.   I met one of my dearest friends while grocery shopping at Smith’s, and another while making copies at Office Depot. My point is, you never know where you’ll make a new friend.  

Step Four is to figure out whether your new friends are “quality people.”  It’s not very different from dating.  You only go on a second date when you see potential.  Same goes for establishing a new friendship or business relationship.  And for me, that has nothing to do with anyone’s outer trappings.  I don’t care what kind of car they drive, nor what they do for a living.  I’m much more focused on listening to them.  I want to discover as much as they’re willing to divulge, so I ask questions and then pay attention to the answers.  I want to make sure that this connection will be with someone whose values align with mine.

Step Five is to nurture your relationships with quality people.  That means staying in touch, listening, and asking what you can do to help.  This is easy to accomplish when you put yourself in their position.  Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you?

What’s your definition of quality people?