Weekly Thoughts


The Company You Keep

Not just a Robert Redford movie

At this week’s annual Chenmark holiday party, we provided an overview of 2022 and set the stage for 2023. We noted that while many companies have goals, fewer have standards, and we have done some work in the past year to define ours. For instance, at Chenmark, the Chase Better ethos is not just about having better companies and numbers; it’s about becoming better people. On this note, we shared the following sentiment with the group:

We are all highly influenced by the people around us each day.

And with whom we spend our time is completely within our control.

The lesson: We become who we associate with — whether it be our friends, our work colleagues, our life partners, or our role models. It’s important to choose wisely.

The Company You Keep is not just a decent Robert Redford movie. It’s also a truism that has been echoed for centuries by writers and philosophers. For example:

  • Every man is like the company he is wont to keep (Euripides, d. 406 BC)
  • He is known by his companions (Latin proverb, presumably quite old).
  • Tell me who you live with, and I will tell you what you are (1747, letters from Lord Chesterfield)
  • Tell me your company, and I’ll tell you your manners (Don Quixote, 1755)
  • Tell me, with whom you associate, and I will tell you what you are (1814; Proverbs from Erasamus)
  • Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you what you are (1803, sermons from Reverend Joseph Hordern)
  • Tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are (d. 1832; German writer Johann Wolfgang van Goethe)
  • You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with (2006, Jim Rohn)
  • Be wary of the company you keep for they are a reflection of who you are, or who you want to be (~2013, Kenneth Ortiz)
  • You are not responsible for what your friends do, but you will be judged by the company you keep (d. 2022, Leonard Cole)

Not too long ago, the Chenmark holiday party was a small table in the back corner of a local hotel restaurant. Today, it’s akin to planning a small wedding. Last night, when looking around at our ever-growing number of holiday party attendees, we were struck by how proud we are to be associated with this exceptional group of small business enthusiasts who are all in on the adventure of building Chenmark. We are very inspired by, and thankful for, the company we keep.

If we are a reflection of the people at our holiday party, we think we’ll be just fine.

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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