Since I started my business over 10 years ago I have said “you can start a business on your own but no one can succeed in business alone.” I have always believed this to be true but it has felt obvious. Can it really be that simple? Is the secret to success in the people we spend our time with?
Running your own business can be a lonely job. All the responsibilities are ultimately yours – so point at yourself and say, “The buck stops here.” Sharing your challenges with people that don’t know the ‘ins and outs’ of your business are difficult enough, but try sharing a true win. It is surprising how few people will understand the significance of giving up your second, part-time job to put more hours into your business or applaud you when you turn down work so you can stay true to your value. The people you share you successes, issues, and failures with must be able to understand the nuance of the situation and give you valid feedback and support that will help you recover and progress. That is not every person in our lives. In fact it is not most people in our lives. Even those that love us cannot always give unbiased strategy when their fear of loss is much higher than yours. They will want the best for you and may suggest something more stable in their minds, like that ad for a good paying job they just saw in the paper.
Don’t worry, you are not alone with this worry, but you are alone if you don’t do something about it. Here are three insights into the value of surrounding yourself with great people that will help you continue to grow your business with confidence.
Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich
Mr. Hill spent 25 years researching and studying the 500 wealthiest people in North America and from his findings he teaches that the most successful people use something called “Accumulated experience” to increase their individual knowledge and experience level. No one man has the ability to know everything. He cannot learn everything and experience everything to be an expert at everything. “No individual may have great power without availing himself of the “Master Mind.” To be great you must have access to the knowledge and experience level of an expert. To do this he found that every successful, wealthy business owner had a mastermind group, whether they consciously participated or not, where the members had access to each other’s expertise.
He writes, “The ‘Master Mind’ May be defined as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of definite purpose.” No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” Meaning, two heads together are better than two on their own.
If you want to achieve something quickly, go gather your mastermind to work through your strategies and develop your plan.
There is a statement I’m sure you have heard before. “You are the combination of the 5 people you spend the most amount of time with?” I often wondered if this was just an ‘old wives tale’ and so did a researcher in The States. Thanks to a social psychologist, Dr. McClelland of Harvard we now have some real data to prove the significance of this statement. Dr. McClelland reports, “Your ‘reference group’ determines 95% of your success or failure in life.
They determine the
- Types of conversations you have
- Places you visit and hang out
- Your ability to see opportunity
- The knowledge you take away from your experiences and learning
Think about it. There are people that talk all day and say very little and there are those that add a single sentence to an idea to solidify the entire concept. If the people you admire and want to spend time with are not the same as the people you are actually spending time with then this may be a limitation for the growth of your business.
Darren Hardy – Mentors
Darren Hardy is one of my favourite successful people that I like to mentor under. I admit that all my mentoring has been from afar as I’ve followed his programs and read his book for years now. That said, one thing I’ve learned and admired about Darren is that he attributes his success in business to the mentors he has had over his life and the people he constantly surrounds himself with. His learning is accelerated by the depth of experience he has access to. He does not have to re-invent the wheel every time he comes up with a new idea, he simply reaches out to the great people around him.
If you know of Darren then you might be thinking, “well Barb, that’s all good for him, he has had Jim Rohn and John C. Maxwell as mentors and access to Seth Godin, Sir Richard Branson, and likely half of the most successful people in the world. If I had contact with that level of business owner I’d be successful too.” The problem with that way of thinking is that you assume that he had that access first and then he became successful, but that is not the case. He had desire and persistence first and then he found his successes. On his way up the success ladder he continually picked up new connections with people that were farther up the ladder than he.
One of Darren’s quotes says, “Broke people talk about people and problems, Rich people talk about IDEAS & GOALS – Your conversation chooses your destiny.” Surround yourself with the people that will light your ‘wealthy conversation’ language so you can climb the ladder of success, supported by people that will understand your goals and your journey and lend you their expertise to get you there. If you truly want to be successful you cannot do it alone.