Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Which means that the results you’ve been achieving individually and as a business owner have been impacted by the people in your inner circle. They are your role models, your counselors, and your confidants, and they influence the decisions you make about your personal and professional life.
The conversations you have, the topics you discuss, and the feedback you get are all driven by the type of people you have surrounded yourself with.
Your circle determines the conversations
So, for example, if you have people around you who are struggling financially, you probably won’t pick up tips and tricks from them that will help you thrive.
It’s a lot like sports. If you play tennis, for example, your performance will improve or weaken depending on your opponent. Want to improve? Play against people who are better than you are. Because if you only play against people you know you can beat, your skills will atrophy. You’ll get worse, not better.
There’s no judgment here—we ALL encounter financial struggles from time to time. But if all of your friends and colleagues are only getting by, then you probably aren’t having positive conversations about money with them that can boost your wealth. Conversations such as which stocks are doing really well, what types of real estate investments could make the most sense given your financial goals, new side hustles to explore, and when everyone is aiming to retire. If no one around you is brainstorming how to make a million, it may be harder for you to change your money mindset.
This is not to say you should walk away from those friends. Not at all. Close friends are important. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make new friends.
Cultivate relationships with people you look up to
Consider adding new people to your circle of friends and associates who are living a life you aspire to have. Ideally, they are entrepreneurs or business owners who are working on growing their companies.
By growing closer to people who are role models for some aspect of your life, you enhance your ability to improve that area of your life. For example, if you aspire to be in a satisfying personal relationship, surrounding yourself with people who have managed to do that will help you figure out how to attract and find someone who is a good partner for you.
Likewise, if you surround yourself with people who are committed to remaining single and have only negative things to say about potential partners, you will naturally repel someone who could be good for you, even if it’s unintentional.
To find people to look up to, you may need to change the events you attend or the activities you engage in.
Finding a mastermind of people in your industry or who are striving to hit $1 million in sales, for example, could be one way to learn new business development strategies or to forge new business relationships. Groups like Toastmasters can be good for improving your public speaking skills. Networking organizations like BNI can connect you with other business people looking to trade business leads. Your local Chamber of Commerce can provide chances for you to mix and mingle with local business owners. And Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs are where local community leaders frequently gather.
But there’s no need to limit yourself to local, in-person networking.
If your business is national or global, rather than local, then find groups of like-minded entrepreneurs online. There are thousands of Facebook and LinkedIn groups where you can connect with people on a similar journey who are in other parts of the country or world. Not to mention industry and professional organizations with online discussion forums in which you can participate.
There are many places for you to turn, both in person and online, to connect with like-minded, ambitious people who can be good for you and your business.
Become a follower
Not all relationships need to be up close and personal, too. You may want to become BFFs with your industry’s leading influencer but that doesn’t mean they have time to get to know you. That’s okay.
Do all you can to consume information that they’re sharing about their work life. Do they have a podcast? Have they written any books? Are there any interviews they’ve done that you can read or listen to? Do they have a blog?
There are many possible ways you can enter their orbit (meaning be influenced by them) without being physically near them.
But if you start following them online, you may eventually learn that they’ll be speaking at a conference you can attend, or participating in a workshop you could travel to.
Surrounding yourself with people who are farther ahead in their business growth can help pull you forward just by watching and listening to how they make decisions. Following in their footsteps is easier when you get together with them regularly to hear what challenges and successes they’re having.
As you spend more time with people who have been business owners longer than you have, whose companies are generating more revenue than yours, and whose net worth is higher than yours, the faster your business and wealth will also grow. Because the average of the five people you spend the most time with will have improved.