As an executive coach, I work with clients in a variety of situations. Some people work in big companies, some in small firms, some are solopreneurs, some are new in their careers, mid-career professionals, and others are in their encore years (I don’t like using the word “retired.”)
Regardless of the specifics, I always work with people to help them move from wherever they find themselves in life to a better place, and on the path to a better future. This ALWAYS involves setting goals.
Often times, business or financial goals are the most important. Sometimes, we’ll work on relationships, marriage, family, or health goals. Whatever the goals, we embark on a pathway of growth and continuous improvement, and as their coach, I endeavor to help my clients achieve their goals faster and better than they would do by themselves.
In working with many of my clients, there’s been a similar challenge of helping them understand how important it is that they pay attention to who they spend their time with. The people that you spend the most time with are the people that are in your core. Jim Rohn, author and philosopher, is famous for saying that “we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with,” and Michael Dell and Confucius have both said (paraphrased), “if you find yourself the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.”
The point’s the same. We should desire to spend our time with people and be influenced by people who will help us grow. Period.
Here are three recommendations on how to get around the right people to help you grow.
#1 – Create a list of the five people that you spend the most time with. Look back over the past month and really think about it. Who are these people? Write down their names. Don’t include your kids, your wife or your husband, but include everybody else. Are these people encouraging you? Are they optimistic? Are they aware of your plans and your goals, and are they helping you get there? Or, are they negative and discouraging and holding you back?
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I used to not think about this and I would just spend time with my neighbors or old high school friends, or college buddies, or some family members, and just hang out. I wasn’t intentional about who I was spending time with. I’ve changed all that, and now I’m very intentional about who I spend my time with. I’m living my life on purpose.
If the five people you spend the most time with are not supporting you and encouraging your growth, then get about a plan to very quietly, (don’t tell them you’re doing this), move away from spending time with these people, and replace them with people who will encourage your growth.
#2 – Join or create a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a collection of peers who are similarly-minded and have a growth orientation, get together monthly, and help each other through life. If you’re not sure how to create a mastermind group, then get Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich.” There’s an entire chapter written on this topic of the mastermind group.
#3 – Get involved in a non-profit organization. Make sure it’s an organization that is focused on an area in which you have personal interest. This could be homelessness, hunger, education, the environment, or whatever – just pick it and get involved. You could start as a volunteer, and then join a committee, lead a committee, and eventually, see if you can find yourself on the board. The other people that are doing the same thing, and eventually those that end up on the board, are likely to be growth-minded, positive, optimistic, encouraging people who have a similar orientation towards a mutual interest. This will not only help you grow as a person, but it will also help you grow in generosity of doing good in the community.
If you’ll do those three things; 1) write down a list of people you’re spending your time with and try to modify that so you’re hanging out with people who help you grow, 2) join a mastermind group, and 3) join a non-profit organization, I predict that your life will start to unfold in beautiful ways and you will find yourself moving more quickly on the path to living out your best life.
Brett Blair – Executive Coach