Posted: 16 Oct 2012 06:45 AM PDT
‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ ~Jim Rohn
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend.
There’s probably one thing we can agree on: The people around you dictate your success.
They can also forecast our failure.
There is no faster, more effective way to fill the gap between where you are and where you aspire to be than having the right passionate and supportive people in your corner. There is no bigger life hack.
Environment is everything. And it's 100 percent in our control.
But it can be intimidating to change our surroundings, and most of us aren’t doing a thing about it.
Over the past couple years in creating How to Connect with Anyone, I’ve surveyed, interacted with and interviewed over 10,800 people on this very topic.
The responses were terrifying…
We know how important it is to connect with the right people.
We know how many things could be possible if we changed our surroundings. We've heard stories of the changes people have made, the businesses they've built, the weight they've lost, the lovers they've met, and the things they've experienced – just as a result of connecting with the right people.
Yet so few of us know how to tackle it. We have all kinds of reasons why we don't reach out and make the connections we could – we don't live in a big city, we're an introvert, we're not worthy, we have nothing to offer, we don't know where to start…
So we do nothing. And the gap between dreams and reality widens.
So over the past decade, and more specifically the past year, I’ve gone on a quest to figure out how we can create that supportive environment that changes our career, business and life.
Years of studying social dynamics, human interaction and personal rapport (and being obsessed with making new friends), lead me to make some discoveries that have allowed me to connect and befriend people in all walks of life, from rock stars like Warren Buffett and Tony Robbins, all the way down to the interesting girl at the bar or the stranger on the street.
Most importantly, it showed me how to create that support team of everyday people who will not only inspire us, but more importantly, will refuse to let us fail.
It was that group that caused my business, Live Your Legend, to go from growing by exactly 0% for the first four years, to growing by 10x within six months of surrounding myself with a new group of people (including our good friend Leo!). Twelve months later it grew by another 160x and turned into the movement it is today.
The reason this happened was simple …
Changing my surroundings took my thinking from “How could I possibly do this?” to “How could I possibly not?”
When that shift happens, it ripples across your whole world.
So today I want to share 11 simple things you can do starting today to begin creating that environment of support that makes failure impossible.
11 Simple Ways to Connect with the People Who Make Failure Impossible
1. Know the impact you want to have. Connection starts long before the first interaction. Be the guy glowing with passion. Let the people around you feel your fire for the impact you want to have on the world. Prompt others to share what makes them come alive. Share in their excitement. There is no more empowering, genuine way to connect. If you don’t know the impact you dream of making, how will you know who you want in your corner to make it happen?
2. Fire toxic friends. This one’s painful, but an absolute requirement. Identify the people in your day-t0-day life who you notice constantly put your ideas down. The ones who don’t support you and leave you drained after an interaction. Make a list. You must start spending less time around them.
Leo is the poster-child of this and is actually one of the experts in our Connect with Anyone course just for that reason. He realized he had a job he hated, 70 pounds he wanted to lose, a sm0king habit he wanted to kick and a lifestyle that was killing him. He ended up moving his whole family halfway across the world to San Francisco – all in search of a more empowering environment. I’m not saying you need to be that extreme, but you must recognize how badly the wrong people can infect your potential.
3. Find new surroundings. Leo constantly stresses that you need to replace old habits with new, more empowering ones. Same with people. If you leave your toxic friends but have no one else to hang out with, you’ll likely go right back to them. This can start as simple as seeing one inspiring friend for an hour every week or so.
Take your passions and start to overlay them with the people in business and in life who see the world the same way. Take inspiration from everywhere: TED talks, movies, articles, local events, Google searches – anything goes.
4. Create a relationship road map. Write out the people you want in your corner. Be as specific as possible – ideally with actual names, but at least with industries and areas you want to spend more time with. Create a “Dream Connections” list of the industry leaders and game changers you’d love to meet and collaborate with. If you don’t know who you want to meet, it’s going to be pretty tough to meet them.
5. Discover who you already know. The odds are that you or the people close to you already know a handful of people who could change your world. Go through your existing networks including friends, colleagues, past employers, alumni groups, sports teams, friends of friends.
Who’s already connected to you in some way that you’d like to get closer to? Make a list of at least five, but keep going as long as you can list names. Then start setting up lunches and meetings to reconnect.
6. Enlist the help of others. This action alone will cause your community to explode with new interesting people. Ask your existing network who they know who fits the criteria of whom you’re hoping to meet. Ask every person you meet for a referral. Never leave a meeting without asking for one person they think would be good for you to meet and who would also benefit from meeting you. Always start with the other person's interests in mind.
Only ask for one, though. Be specific, so it's easy to think of someone. Sample Script: "Thanks Natalie, this has been a total blast. Also I'm curious, I'd love to chat with a few other people about long-distance trail running. Can you think of one person who comes to mind who would have some fun chatting through this stuff over a tea or a meal?"
7. Create unique value and learn to help anyone. All of us have things we can offer to others. Nothing feels better and nothing creates faster, more memorable genuine connections. What are your unique strengths, talents and passions? If you design logos, offer someone some free help with the branding for their new venture.
I once gave a copy of The 4-Hour Body to a new business friend who wanted to lose some weight. The next time I saw him, he’d lost 30 pounds. Is there any better gift to give? Before going to a meetup with a bestselling author and entrepreneur I admired, my wife and I created a list of our favorite vegan restaurants in San Francisco – because we knew he only ate plants and had just moved to town. We would have appreciated the same in his shoes. Your ability to help is only limited by your creativity.
8. Great genuine online connections. I see connecting online as maybe step one of twenty, but it is still an incredibly powerful, high-leverage step. Today there’s a community for every passion imaginable. You just have to do some looking. Join a private club or a forum. Even if it costs $20 or $100 a month, it’s worth checking out. You can always cancel later. I met my first group of online entrepreneur friends through Leo’s A-List Blogging Club, and his Sea Change Program has turned into an incredibly community for habit change. We’ve created our own members-only Connection Forum as part of the Connect with Anyone Course for this same reason.
9. Build your in-person community. As soon as you can, take the virtual connections into the real world. No matter how big or small your town is, you have to find people in the flesh and blood with whom you can spend consistent time. Check out meetup.com, Craigslist, Facebook & LinkedIn groups or the classifieds of your hometown paper. Or better yet, walk into the hot local restaurant or cafe and ask the owner what’s happening in your realm of passions. Start attending events and saying hello. Watch what happens.
10. Make people a part of your world. The more personal the better. Get out on double dates, have beers, go on workouts, travel together. Do anything you can to make these people a part of your life. But only if you genuinely care about having them in your life. People will see straight through anything less than honest intentions.
11. Show Up. Nothing happens if you don’t show up. If you never press send on that email, dial that number, or walk through the door of your local event, you will never find the surroundings you need. And often times that leads to 99% of the results … showing up. At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that has lead to the connections that have changed my world. And it’s the only thing that ever will.
If you aren’t willing to show up, nothing else matters.
So, who’s in your corner?
The most recent studies show that over 80% of people are not happy with their work. This is a tragedy. It also means that most the people around us encourage complacency. They endorse these lives of quiet desperation that so much of the world is living. They put down our ideas on how to be different, and think we’re crazy (or even stupid) for thinking we can take the road less traveled.
They tell us it’s impossible to actually build a life and career around work we’re truly passionate about.
The more time we hang around them, the more we start to believe it and the less we actually try to make a meaningful impact in the world.
But we have a choice.
We can choose to continue to hang around the people who tell us we’re stupid for thinking things could be different. Or we could surround ourselves with the people who inspire possibility.
The choice is 100% on us.
Either way, one thing is for sure. The people around us will change our world.
The question is, will they kill our dreams or make them come true?
That’s on you to decide.
You have more control than you likely realize.
Do something with it.
After all, what could be possible with the right people in your corner?
Scott Dinsmore is the founder of Live Your Legend and the creator of How to Connect with Anyone – an interactive online course to surround yourself with the world-changing people necessary to build your ideal business or career. The course is open for enrollment to the first 100 students until this Friday at 11:59pm PST. ZenHabits readers even get a special deal. Learn more about the course here.
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