Our relationships significantly impact our success. In the same way that our past relationships shaped the person we are today, our current relationships are shaping our future. Jim Rohn captured it best when he said ‘You are the average of the five people you spend most time with’ because the more time we spend with someone, the more we adopt their beliefs and behaviours. While it’s clear our social circle can ‘make’ or ‘break’ our success, most of us don’t consciously choose our peer group. On the other hand, leaders surround themselves with leaders. They consciously seek and maintain relationships with people that lift their mental, emotional and spiritual game.
|“My adage is, if I’m ever in a room with five people I want to be dumbest one in the room. I don’t want to be smartest guy in the room… If I’m the smartest guy in the room than I’m not listening to anybody. Then I think I already know it; then I think they’re not capable of teaching, training, sharing or giving me anything of value. But if I think I’m the dumbest one in the room…I can learn from any one of them. That causes me to shut up and sit down and I get a chance to learn because most of us are talking so much, we aren’t listening.” Bill Bartmann, Multi-award winning entrepreneur|
What Bill’s statement indicates is that if you’re the smartest, most motivated, most enlightened of your peers your potential for growth is limited. The flip-side of that is, the more time you spend with people who are prospering and defying the norm, the more you start to believe your dreams are attainable too.
Who’s in your peer group?
Take some time to reflect on your circle of influence and make a list of the top 5 or 10 people you spend most time with. Your list may include your family, spouse, colleagues, friends etc. It’s important to note that some relationships are predetermined such as our families and to some extent our colleagues. So if you have a negative family or work environment, it’s even more important to surround yourself with positive and inspiring people. While we need to love and respect our families, we don’t have to seek their counsel. Instead, aim to surround yourself with leaders that:
Have an abundance mindset
Those with a scarcity mentality believe there is not enough opportunity for everyone. These people are threatened by other’s success because they believe that someone else’s success means there’s less success is available for them. These individuals are likely unaware of their limiting perspective so it’s up to you to identify and guard your mind from them.
Conversely, leaders have an abundance mindset and get excited about anyone’s success because they know there is more than enough opportunities for everyone. Make sure your peer group comprises of abundance oriented people because they genuinely want to see you prosper and rather than being threatened, they are inspired by your potential for greatness.
Have inspiring conversations
I couldn’t agree more with Eleanor Roosevelt when she stated ‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.’ Avoid limiting conversations, (usually with scarcity mentality people) which create negative energy that literally block success. Instead surround yourself with great minds that talk about their passions, successes and goals.
Leaders engage in uplifting and thought-provoking conversations that expand their thinking and beliefs about what’s possible. But the biggest benefit is their infectious energy that excite and inspire you to take action.
Challenge your perspective
On the surface this appears to contradict the previous point about inspiring conversations, but it’s important to distinguish between uplifting discussions with positive individuals and surrounding yourself with yes people. While your peers should believe in you, don’t surround yourself with people that always agree for the sake of your ego – this is dangerous on many fronts. Look no further than financial institutions that, prior the global financial crisis, famously fired anyone that challenged their organisation’s policies to see the consequence of surrounding yourself with too many yes people.
Leaders value people that challenge them and can recognise the difference between detractors and those providing genuine feedback. They welcome healthy debate because they understand that it’s the people that challenge them that cause them to grow the most.
To be a leader you need to surround yourself with with other leaders who will raise your standards, your beliefs about what’s possible, and aren’t afraid to challenge your perspective. Expand your peer group to include inspiring, motivated and passionate leaders that are personally invested in your success. And most importantly, live by Bill Bartmann’s adage and aim to be the dumbest person in the room because when you do, you can only get better!
To your continued success,