Why Your Closest Associations Matter

“I believe that close association with one who refuses to compromise with circumstances he or she does not like is an asset that can never be measured in terms of money.” — Napoleon Hill

Think about the people whom you hang around with. Do they encourage you, uplift you, and see you in your highest good? Or do they hold you back, fearful that you will leave them behind if you’re successful?

“When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions,” per Amy Groth in Business Insider.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” Kai Sato expands on this concept in his article in Entrepreneur.com: “But it’s common for entrepreneurs to underestimate the importance of the company they keep. Bottom line: The people around you matter.”

If you consider the income levels of the five people whom you keep company with most, you’ll probably find that your earnings are approximately the average of theirs. What does that mean? If you want to reach a higher level of success, it’s important for you to be involved with people who have already reached the goals that you are pursuing. If you are the smartest, wealthiest, most successful person in your group of friends, it’s probably time to look for new people to attract into your life.

Oftentimes we are too intimidated to approach the people we admire, fearful that we won’t be able to bring anything to the friendship. After all, “What do I have to offer them?” is a question that you may ask yourself.

Relationships happen over time. If there is someone you admire and want to build a connection with, look for ways to be of service without expecting anything back from them. (No, I’m not telling you to stalk them.)  Maybe you can volunteer to help them at their next event. Or run errands for them when they are overloaded. Or simply send them thoughtful articles and reference materials that you feel they would be interested in having.

While at the National Speakers Association Convention in 2012, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Harvey Mackay. If you’re not familiar with him, Harvey wrote a New York Times best-selling book called “Swim With the Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive.” Because this book was so pivotal in my sales career, I quoted Harvey in my newly published book, “The Upside of Down Times.” I also included this book in my “Recommended Reading” section. After lunch, I approached Harvey and expressed my gratitude for the difference he made in my career, and gave him a personalized copy of my book. We took a picture together and I figured that was the end of it.

One year later, I received a call from Harvey. Not only did he read my book, he wanted to use in for an article on gratitude in his syndicated news column. By having the courage to approach someone I greatly admired and giving a gift with no expectation of return, I received something that truly was priceless.

Look for ways that you can add value to the lives of those people you admire without asking for anything from them. It will be a refreshing change for your hero, and you may find that they are much more approachable than you think. When you give to people with no expectation of return, you receive unexpected gifts. Kindness works!

About the Author: Employee engagement expert and motivational speaker Lisa Ryan works with organizations to help them keep their top talent and best customers from becoming someone else’s. She is the best-selling author of seven books, and is featured in two films including the award-winning, “The Keeper of the Keys” with Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

photo credit: EU Social via photopin cc