It’s a total cliche, but it’s true:
Birds of a feather flock together.
The big thing that many of us don’t realize is that we control the birds we flock with.
Sometimes we’re with negative birds and we don’t even realize it. We pick up their views on life. We pick up their habits. Before we even realize it we’re a decade down the road and we wonder why we haven’t achieved the success we want in life.
So much in life is about being around the right people.
Here are some tips for doing that.
1. Your Goals
This one is first for a reason.
I don’t want this post to come across as the blame game. If you’re not doing what you want or getting what you want out of life you can’t blame the people you’re with. That’s not what I mean by this.
You’re to blame for being around those people.
You have to put yourself in the right situations.
The catch is that you have to understand what you want in life.
And if you’re not sure that may involve being around people that like trying new things. That would be opposed to people that like doing the same thing and staying in the same rut every day and night.
Self assess first. Determine what you want or try new things until you figure it out.
2. Your Values
Building on the idea of goals is assessing your personal values.
This is more about discovery than about building values. I don’t know that you can really build values. You identify and then use values as your compass for moving forward in life and for making decisions.
Along with goals, you want to know what you value in life before you surround yourself with people.
Look at your actions. How you make your decisions. Play games with yourself. Think about difficult situations and how you would feel based on what you decide.
That will bring your values to light.
3. Established Coworkers
Once you know yourself start looking around at the established coworkers. These can be your mentors in a way. You want to start finding ways to spend more time with them.
Let’s say you want to get into management at your company. You identify the COO as someone that has gone down the same path as you. You appreciate aspects of their life.
Look for ways to work with that person. Setup a meeting with them. Get to know them. Ask what they’re working on. Let them know you’re interested in learning more. Ask if they need help with anything. Research, a project, etc.
Most people want to give advice. They want to teach.
4. Up & Comers
But you don’t just want to look up. Look sideways and even below you.
Identify the up and comers. The ones that share the same values as you. The same determination. The same goals.
Get with them on as many projects as possible. Spend more time with them. At work and even out of work.
Lots of successful people got there and brought a team of people with them. They got together and helped each other reach the top.
5. Aligned Incentives
Finally, you want to look for ways to align incentives. You can’t expect someone to spend time with you out of the goodness of their heart. You can’t expect someone to work with you and give and give out of the goodness of their heart.
You give what you get. In fact, you want to try and give more than you receive.
A good way to do that is to look at what drives you and what drives the other people that you want to spend time with. Find the common ground and work together on things that incentivize both of you toward the same goal.
A big part of the battle in life is just being around the right people. Most of us don’t even realize that our friends both in and out of the office are holding us back. But it’s not their fault. It’s our fault for spending time with them. If we want our situations to change we have to change the situation ourselves. We have to spend time with new people.