What comes to mind when you think about the five people you spend the most time with?
Are they encouraging, supportive and positive?
Or are they negative, overly pessimistic, unambitious– or shall I say TOXIC?
When I interviewed Tim Ferriss, I asked him, “If you had a huge billboard that you could put any message on to share with the world, what would it be?”
He said, “On my billboard, I would put, “You are the average of the five people you associate with most.”
And this isn’t the first time I heard this idea from someone who’s outrageously successful.
I’ll never forget where I was when I first heard this popular quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
It was a hot California summer in 2012 and I was sitting in the auditorium at Merced College listening to Bert Gervais speak at The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour. He’s an author, thought leader and mentor evangelist who believes in the power of having a strong network.
Listening to his talk and hearing that quote, changed the way I viewed the people in my life forever. My relationships had always taken priority over everything so to hear such a profound message about how our relationships influence our success was life-changing.
The idea that you are the average of the people you spend the most time with stems from the law of averages. This theory suggests that the results of any given situation is the average of all outcomes. Makes sense right?!
Well when you apply the law of average to your relationships, it become even more clear how the people closest to you greatly impact your success whether negative or positive.
The people you surround yourself with the most can affect how you think, how you act and how you feel–ultimately impacting how successful you may be.
Now of course you have power over how you think, act and feel, however, research shows that contrary to what we believe, we are more influenced by our environment than we think.
Do you find that the people you hang around the most lift you up or weigh you down? Do you have one too many relationships that you believe stunt your growth in some way?
Whether you have the slightest inkling or you know that who you associate with the most may be negatively influencing you–it’s time to rethink your close relationships.
It could be your relationship with your significant other, father, friend, client or someone you’ve kept close by for far too long by default.
Often times the people you spend the most time with are your family and friends who also surprisingly can be those who brings you down.
In one of my favorite books, Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield, he says:
“The problem with friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are. Prepare yourself to make new friends.”
There’s no denying that our close friends and family can be our worst enemies. I’ve seen this scenario play out in my own life.
In the last 5 years, I’ve had to make some difficult, but necessary decisions about who I spend my time with. And you can bet that I’ve been criticized by people about how fast I let people go or move on from things that don’t serve me.
When it comes to my close relationships, I’m not afraid to draw a line in the sand about who I choose NOT to spend my time with. And you too may be criticized if you choose to be more selective about who you spend your time with, but that’s ok!
As you get the clarity you need to reach your goals, the more important it is to be surrounded by people who support, motivate and inspire you to be the best you can be.
Rethinking your close relationships is important because your subconscious mind is like a sponge, soaking up the good and the bad.
And who you surround yourself with can make all the difference in achieving your business and lifestyle goals.
Because as we know, you’re most likely the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Who’s In Your Top 5?
Now it’s time to evaluate your close relationships to get the insights you need to surround yourself with the right people.
Step 1: Write Down Your Top 5
- List the five people you spend the most time with (if you’re like me and have less than 5, that’s ok!)
Step 2: Reflect on Your Relationships…(really think!)
- What is their life philosophy? What are their core values in life? What is their biggest motivator? What are their interests? What are their lifestyle goals? What’s their definition of “success” and are they striving towards achieving that for themselves? Do you believe they align with what’s most important in life?
Step 3: Rate Your Relationships
- Now that you’ve reflected on your relationship with each person, you should have a good idea of where they stand. Do they lift you up, pull you down or are they neutral? Next to each persons’ name, rate your relationship with them on a scale from 1-5 (1 meaning completely discontent, 3 meaning neutral and 5 meaning completely satisfied).
Step 4: Renovate Your Relationships
- It’s time to turn your insights into action! Now that you know where each person stands, you must decide how you’re going to manage both your time and relationships going forward. How are you going to manage the relationships that weigh you down? Are you willing to completely let them go, limit the amount of time you spend with them or make no changes? How will you manage your time with the people who lift you up? Will you continue to spend time with them, increase the amount of time you spend with them or find more people with similar qualities.
If you feel like you don’t have the right people around you to reach your definition of success in business and life, you have to make changes in your relationships.
After all, you just may be the average of the 5 people you hang around most. =)
P.S. The first time I was challenge to do this exercise, I was a little hesitant. I almost let resistance stop me from getting the insights I needed to make better decisions about my relationships. On top of me being apprehensive, once I wrote the names of the people I spend the most time with, I had a slightly uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.
I realized that I was debating with myself whether or not I wanted to be honest. Who was I trying to fool? The truth was that a few people on my list pulled me down but I didn’t want to admit it. Even though it was a personal exercise and no one would see it, it was still uncomfortable for me. And to be quite honest, it hurt. But in the end, I was so glad I did it because the awareness I gained was priceless.
While doing this exercise, be honest with yourself. This exercise can be so powerful if you don’t fight it and let your intuition tell you what you need to know. Trust your feelings here, you know in your heart how the people around you make you feel. Trust yourself.