By Lisa Stephenson
As a global success coach, I am yet to meet anyone who has achieved success without the support of others. It’s a rare person who steps up to the podium to receive a reward and only thanks themselves. Even if, by chance, they did most of the hard work alone, they no doubt benefitted from the input of good role models, who either set an example or propelled them towards their goals.
Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs. Bill Gates had Warren Buffett. Oprah Winfrey had Maya Angelou. Successful people know how important it is to surround themselves with other successful people; individuals who are smarter and/or more experienced than them, who have accomplished their goals and can share the knowledge they gained along the way. As author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn famously said: “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” The company you keep has the potential to energise and challenge you – which is why it pays to surround yourself with positive, successful people.
People often talk about having an inner circle, personal cheer squad or support crew, comprised of teachers, coaches, mentors and peers who push them to be better. We need these people in our lives; people who want us to be the very best version of ourselves, who believe we have potential beyond all measure. I’m not talking about your family and friends, but other people who have agreed to support you and advocate for your success. You’ve shown them your plan and vision. You have had a meaningful conversation with them about the specific role they play and together you have agreed outcomes and timeframes. They are people who will challenge you and celebrate you.
Each of them serves a different function and brings a unique skillset, personality and range of experiences to the table.
If you want to become your best self, it’s time to identify and build your own circle of influence. Here are the seven people it should include.
1. The truth teller
This person will say out loud what others may not be prepared to say. They will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about how you are doing, the impact you are having on others and what they are observing.
2. The visionary genius
This is where you get to dream. Your visionary genius will prod you to plan, play and think bigger than you are now. They will encourage your ambition and innovative thoughts. They will be ridiculously optimistic about what is possible for you.
3. The director of reality
This is your voice of reason: someone who will raise all the things you know you should think about and consider, but don’t want to.
4. The cheerleader
Celebrating progress and everything you are doing well must be recognised. This is where you get your energy and momentum. Our natural inclination is to focus on what we aren’t doing well. This person will always remind you about your strengths.
5. The promoter
We often find it hard to promote ourselves and/or our ideas. Your promoter is your ‘out loud’ advocate. They are your living and breathing testimonial. They will tell everyone how awesome you are and seek out other people who can experience you and sell you.
6. The expert
They’ve been there and done that. They have a world of wisdom, experience and stories to share. They know the stuff you don’t but should. Their mistakes are learning lessons in your pocket.
7. The accountability partner
It was so easy to be motivated when you started out, but now you are tired, or finding it hard. Here is where you are reminded of your commitment and timeframes. Your accountability partner will review your progress and support you in working through next steps that are aligned with your goals. They will ensure you keep going.
If you’re worried that it’s overly indulgent to expect such people to heed your call to arms, then stop right there. Investing in you is the most important investment you will ever make. And when in doubt, remember: you can always nominate yourself to join someone else’s inner circle, so you can share your own wisdom, experiences and encouragement, and continue the mutually beneficial cycle of reciprocal support.
Lisa Stephenson, founder of The Coach Place Global, is a globally recognised high-impact coach, consultant, keynote speaker and author. You will find her behind the scenes with C-Suite executives, entrepreneurs and high profile individuals in fast-paced environments, where absolute trust is non-negotiable and the stakes are high.
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