Want to be Successful? Hang Out with People Who are More Successful Than You
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
A few years ago, a colleague of mine told me that if I wanted to be seen and acknowledged as a successful entrepreneur and business leader then I needed to start hanging out with people who are more successful than me. My original interpretation of that was that I needed to hang out with the likes of Richard Branson, Marc Benioff, Ursula Burns, or Warren Buffett who’s quoted in saying: “One of the best things you can do in life is to surround yourself with people who are better than you are.”
While it would be awesome to hang out with any one of them on a regular basis, that wasn’t what she meant. What she meant was to surround yourself with people in your immediate vicinity who are smarter than you, accessible people who are a level up from you.
They say you are the company you keep. So if you want to be successful, associate with people who are more successful than you. Here’s why:
When you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you or a level up from you, you want to up your game. They introduce you to new concepts, ideas, people, and strategies.
Also, the opinions of the people with whom we associate matter to us. They will always play a big role in our actions and decisions, which affect our future. If you are hanging around with people who are negative, critical, always complaining, or ones who don’t support your goals, ambitions, or passions, then they are only going to bring you down and hold you back from achieving your dreams.
When I told people I was starting a nonprofit animal rescue, some of those closest to me were skeptical. To them, it didn’t make sense. But, there’s no money in nonprofit. How are you going to pay your bills?”
And: “You have how many dogs?? Have you lost your mind??”
Well, technically yes, but that’s beside the point.
I needed to start associating with people who supported my mission, people who understood that it wasn’t about the money.
I had the same experience when I left the corporate world to start my PR business.
“You never started a business before. How could you possibly succeed?”
And, when I told people I wanted to become a business, entrepreneurship and life purpose coach, they didn’t get it.
“ You’re not a therapist. You’re not even certified!” I am now. (sticks out tongue).
Had I listened those who were not at the level to which I aspired, those who could have caused me to question myself and bring my dreams screeching halt, I wouldn’t have gotten very far.
I decided to stop discussing my business endeavors and goals with them altogether. I began surrounding myself with people that were a level or two above me in business. I joined professional organizations and attended events where the local business elite gather — alumni groups, Chamber of Commerce, galas, charity events, ladies luncheons, etc.
It truly sparked something new in me. It inspired me to be true to my higher self. I went from spending nights binging on Netflix with a bottle of wine to attending networking events and lunch and learns, hiring an mentor, taking career and personal advancement courses, and becoming a mentor myself.
I began to learn more about business, how to grow my business and become a better business leader. I joined business groups on social media where supportive, like-minded entrepreneurs hung out. I immersed myself in books that spoke to my purpose and spirit. I started hiking and getting out in nature. I started meditating and studying business leaders I admire. I began writing more about my experiences and on topics that I thought would help people grow their business and enhance their lives.
I found that people who are smarter and more successful than me are also more supportive. They appreciate my ambitions. They are supportive of taking risks in life and understand the courage it takes to go out on your own as an entrepreneur.
Hanging around people who support you also creates an atmosphere of momentum, encouragement, and positive energy.
Hanging out with people who are a level or two up from you inspires you, motivates you, and gives you something to aspire to.
Of course, you don’t have to completely ditch your old friends. You will always love them. They will simply have a different role in your life.
But, if you want to succeed in business and level-up in life, you need to associate yourself with high-grade people.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.