The people you associate with on a daily basis can make a dramatic difference in your attitude and life. When is the last time you sat down and thought about who you associate with and why you do it?

The people can be individuals or organizations that you belong to socially or for business. Consider this question – do they compliment your individual and work related goals? Maybe now is the time to reflect on it.

This exercise might help you refocus how you spend your time and who you spend it with everyday. Get a piece of paper and start to make your list of who is important in your life.

Do you have less than a dozen people or are you onto your second page? If your list is long, take a closer look at the list and refine it by crossing off the people who are acquaintances – that is unless they are major time consumers in your life today.

Your list should be comprised of people or organizations where you interact with them on a daily or regular basis and more than likely have a personal relationship with them – you know about their families or outside activities, it is not just all about business.

The next step is to ask the following questions about each person or organization:

How long have I had a relationship with them? Someone once told me, time outweighs being the new kid on block.

Think about your favorite pair of shoes that are worn out because they are broken in and comfortable; yet you know you should retire them to the garbage can. The thought of breaking in a new pair is enough of a deterrent, so you keep on wearing the worn out shoes. Our relationships with people are similar.

We do it because we know what to expect, we know how they will perform and how to make it work.

All of that is OK if the relationship continues to be positive.

Sometimes, the longer we stay in a relationship, the less likely we are to leave it – even if it is nonproductive. It can be hard to know if it is time to quit or to jump-start the relationship again. Consider what you might miss if you let it go and what kind of energy you will need to muster to get it back on track.

What is the value of the relationship to me? It is human nature to ask what is in it for me (WIFM). If you cannot define it, then you may want to determine if you are in a relationship with a drainer.

If the reason you cannot define it is that you are afraid to do it or you think it might be self-serving, get rid of the excuses. It is time to think about what you need out of the relationship and ask for it.

If you do not ask, you may not get it.

There is a chance that someone cannot give you what you need and then you can decide to change what he or she can help you with or find it somewhere else.

What is my contribution to the relationship? Do I give back to the person or community that gives to me? It does not have to be something substantial. The little things are what keep relationships growing on both sides.

This is an example of a major contribution. The Rochester Professional Consultants Network is a community of consultants that help each other further their business skills and contacts. Today, RPCN debuted a new website and the team efforts of Paul Lowans, Emily Carpenter and Steve Royal were instrumental in making it happen. Their willingness to volunteer time and expertise will benefit the membership and business community.

Over the years, my personal contribution to RPCN is to be on the lookout for talented speakers for our monthly meetings. On April 9, Amanda Altman of A3 Design is going to talk about the importance of brand awareness, visual messaging and company culture.

Figure out what you do well and make a point of doing it.

Once you have your list together, review what is working and what is not working well. Think about what you may want to discontinue doing and what you want to start doing to meet your goals.