Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. When it comes to our way of thinking, our self-esteem, our motivation, our overall happiness, and even our decisions, we are greatly influenced by those we CHOOSE to surround ourselves with.
While the five people we spend the most time with have the greatest influence I believe that everyone we let into our lives, both personal and business, will have some sort of impact on us even if it is for just a brief moment. Because of this I think it is vital to our success to be guarded about the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
I was fortunate enough to learn this lesson very early on in my career in sales. When I first began my career I struggled, like most, to get the ball rolling. Each day for lunch I would go downstairs from my office and grab a small sandwich and head back up to the company conference room. In the room each day I would eat lunch with other young, struggling reps, and staff of our office’s most successful reps. Lunch could be considered more of a group therapy, or complaining session more than anything else. Each and every day I would listen, and often participate, to complain about how hard it is to sell. I would hear every excuse in the book about why people didn’t have the numbers they wanted, or were not making the money they wished they were, and how “lucky” the successful reps were. And I loved every minute of it. It allowed me to accept every excuse I had in my head for my own poor results, and inactivity. I wasn’t alone in my struggles and that made me feel good. It didn’t make me any money or help me achieve my goals, but it made me feel good.
Then one day when I was talking with a seasoned rep about my struggles, and lack of success early on, and began asking for his advice. He told me one simple thing: get out of the conference room during lunch. That seemed so simple, but was very difficult. I enjoyed my lunch time, hearing about how others were struggling and giving my excuses for my lack of success. Besides how could having lunch with a group of people be effecting my success? Then he told me the next time I go to have lunch in the conference room to be silent, truly listen to the conversations, and ask myself if this was helping me achieve my goals or not.
That is when it hit me. I was allowing myself to accept my own excuses because I was surrounding myself with others who were doing the same. If I was going to change I needed to change my environment, and so I did. I began spending each lunch meeting one-on-one with referral partners from my networking group. I used the time to develop relationships further and gain high quality referrals. When I wasn’t able to meet with a referral partner I had a networking lunch with a client where the focus was on giving and receiving referrals. I talk about how to do that in this VIDEO.
The truth is, there were two lessons I learned. One about the importance of activity, and the other about being careful about who you surround yourself with. The other people who I had been eating lunch with were great people, and still friends. However their mindset, their focus was not the same as mine. While it was tough to stop going to my lunch with them, and many would give me a hard time about being “too busy for them” it was the right decision for my own success. Every now and again I would pop in and listen to their conversations, and they remained the same, however, now I had changed and I had a different perspective about what was really going on.
If you want to achieve more success in 2013 a good place to start is looking at who is influencing your life right now. Who are you spending your time with and are they helping or hindering you from achieving your goals?
I have already begun this process myself again. In today’s world we are inundated with people’s comments, beliefs, excuses, etc because of our social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter. I have begun the process to hide comments from the people who fill my pages, and thus my head when I read them, with consistent negative or unproductive comments. I no longer want to be influenced by people who are unhappy with their life, or job, or career, or lack of success. I want to surround myself with others who are motivated to reach new levels of success. I want to be influenced by those who have already achieved what I dream about, or those who are as passionate about reaching their goals as I am. I will no longer let those who focus on bad mouthing their competition, or complaining about this political party or that political party, affect my day. Facebook in many ways became a larger conference room lunch time for me, and was important for me to realize that heading into the New Year. Maybe it is the same for you. It is a difficult decision at times to let go, but it is vital if we are looking to change our results.
I have also begun to look at those I am currently networking with. If we want to reach new levels of success it is important for us to network with others who are looking to achieve the same. A business after hours can be extremely beneficial, or an extreme hinder on our success. It all depends on if we use them correctly or we just hang out with our “friends” and listen to them complain about how tough the economy is.
For me this was one of the toughest lessons to learn and to think about. It remains that way now. However it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. Spend some time over the next couple of days and ask yourself, are you being positively or negatively influenced by people in your life? That could be in your personal life, your business life, your social life wherever. If you want to reach new levels of success this year, are these people helping you get there? Are they motivating you to do what you need to do to get there? Are they supporting you? Are they filling your head with positive or negative thoughts and feelings? Have their comments made your day better or worse for having read them?
Surround yourself with the people who will fill your life with positive emotions. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you and fill your head with their excuses. If you want to become more successful, learn and study from those who have actually achieved a level of success that you desire.
I have always loved the line: It is hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by a bunch of turkeys. Funny, but very true!