It’s that time of year again when we see young people beaming all around us. They have just been released into that great abyss called life, and a very large question mark looms over their heads where yesterday a mortarboard lay. Do you know what that question is?
The question is: “Who will I become?”
This question applies to each and every one of us.
You might like to stop a moment and reflect on your own life. You might do this on your own birthday. The end of a calendar year. Or perhaps the beginning of a new year. I know lots of people who do this every year for all sorts of reasons, but whatever the date the results will be an eye opening one for sure.
I’d like to share some thoughts and knowledge I have on this subject of “Becoming”.
“After 25 years of research your choice reference group is more important in determining your success or failure in life than any other factor.” Dr. David McClelland, Harvard University
So if you’re over the age of say 43, how successful are you? Who have you surrounded yourself with? Hmmmm?
The late Stephen Covey said: “You will become the combined average of the 5 people you hang around with the most.” Who do you hang around with? Hmmmmm?
Darren Hardy of Success Magazine has said: “…Associations (people you know) don’t shove you, they nudge you….” Isn’t that so true. We give a little every day and pretty soon we are way off course, and we wonder how we got off course in the first place.
So think about who you are around. Let’s do a little inventory here right now.
Who are the 5 people you are with the most “Professionally”? Those are the people you will be most like. Think about who you are around in your office. Who is coaching and mentoring you? Who are you looking to as your role model in business? What are they reading? Who is the thought leader in your field? What new skills or training do you need to be learning next?
Who are the 5 people you are with the most “Personally”? Take a good hard look at those folks, these are the people you will be most like in the next few years. Think about the long term picture of what you want, where you want to be and where they are going.
When Friday comes around we all want to beat a path to the door and make a bee line home or to happy hour someplace or out to the ball park and escape. The question is; who do you want to escape with?
You can do this by asking yourself the simply evaluate your relationship with those your associate with. Make a choice:
A) Limit my time with this person
B) Stop all association with this person (do this in a respectful manner)
C) Expand my time with this person
D) Find new people
Let me talk a little about choice (D) for a moment. When looking for “new people” you want to look for those who are a little ahead of you on the road you want to be on. Look for those who are 5 years ahead of you. Look for those who have already walked the path in front of you and know where the pitfalls are, where the mountains are, the wrong turns, where there is no phone signal, these folks can help you immensely.
I coach men and women every day looking for the “short cut”. There is no short cut. Start working, begin to really study where it is that you want to go and look at who is out in front. What are they reading, what events are they going to, who are the thought leaders in your industry? Do those thought leaders write, blog or guest lecture some place?
One of my mentors is John C. Maxwell who is brilliant on the subject of Leadership. John has the best habit I have ever heard of and he still does it to this day. When he wants to learn from someone he admires, he does whatever it takes to get in front of that person and takes them to lunch. John buys the meal and listens. John has done his homework and brings a yellow legal pad with a list of burning questions and then sits and absorbs from the master eating across the table from him. He’s been doing this for decades and has recounted many times how invaluable this one technique has been for his own personal growth learning. So who could you buy lunch for this week?
Or…..maybe you’d rather hang out with those guys up there on the couch…….