Tip #5 Get Friends with Better Goals
Darren Hardy, self-development expert, has a saying that goes like this:
“You become the average of the 5 people you hang around the most.”
It’s totally true!
My sister and I were talking once about how her marriage wasn’t going so well. I was ready to listen but at the same time I was very curious. I asked her to tell me about her friends. She didn’t see the connection between her friends & her marital issues but she humored me. She was close to about 5 woman. Of the 5, one was going through a bitter divorce. My sister talked to her regularly and provided support for her friend who was miserable and angry. Of the other 4, two were getting divorced. My sister was surrounded by woman who were unhappy in their relationships and talking about it all the time. When my sister spoke to her friends, she sympathized and emphasized like any good friend would do. The more stories she heard the more she compared her life to those stories looking for similarities. It’s unconscious. Our default programming is to connect. It’s to create rapport. When we do this we want to show how we are the same as those around us, even if it means being overly critical of our own situation so we can match someone else.
I know how this happens because I was in the exact situation with a friend of mine. We spent hours together complaining about our husbands. When I decided to start taking 100% responsibility for improving my marriage, I stopped complaining and when I got together with this friend, she didn’t want to hear about how things were going really well. She stopped hanging around with me because I wouldn’t criticize my husband anymore. We were no longer in rapport.
Hanging around with friends who have better goals than your own means those friends are going to be talking about accomplishing all sorts of brilliant & amazing things. Take my friend Heather, for example. Her business is going really well. She’s about 2-3 years ahead of me in setting up a really good business that combines live programs with online programs. It’s exactly what I want to do. Heather is a great person for me to have as part of my 5. She keeps me looking up, forward and toward bigger and better goals. You might be asking yourself, “What about Heather? Doesn’t she need to hang out with people that have bigger goals than her?” Yes she does! It’s great that all of us can be good at some things and working on others. There are some things that Heather can rely on me for. And in Heather’s world, she has a bunch of other people that are her models for even MORE success.
Last story, then I promise I’ll wrap this up. When my husband started working for a hotel company years ago, he and I went to dinner at the home of one of his new colleagues. All during cocktails and then dinner and then dessert, our host complained about my husband’s new company. “Everything was wrong!” “Nothing could be done to fix it!” “It was hopeless.” These were the themes of the night. Thankfully, my husband couldn’t agree or disagree. He’d only been at the job for a week. When we left, I remember very clearly turning to my husband and saying, “Don’t hang out with that guy! You’ll get yourself fired or you’ll hate your job. He’s bad news.” Over the years, both my husband and this colleague left that company. We are very good friends with him and his wife now. But he isn’t someone that is in my husband’s 5.
Take a look at who you hang around the most. Do they bring you up or do they bring you down? Do they have goals? Or do they just coast through life without direction? Are they really trying to get somewhere or they happy with their place in the world? Decide for yourself if they are part of your 5. It doesn’t mean you have to stop hanging around with them. It just means that you need to be careful about how much rapport you have so they don’t unconsciously sabotage your success.