The #1 decision effecting your ability to kick ass in life is making a conscious decision as to who you spend time with.
When I began my entrepreneurial journey at 17, I didn’t know any other entrepreneurs. The closest person I had was a friend who was running his father’s company, that used to argue with me that being late for meetings was a great way to show a potential customer that you were busy, so you must be good… and my Uncle who was in the mafia. So not the highest quality advice out there.
One day, I read a book that changed my life: Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders. One of the points he argued is that your network is your net worth. In it, he wrote about ways to identify and connect with people in an authentic way that could help you along your entrepreneurial journey.
Ever since that point, I’ve been consciously taking “Friendventory” and ruthlessly cutting people out of my life that don’t share my values, beliefs or take more then they give.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned to help you do the same:
Conversations drive thoughts. Thoughts shape actions. If the quality of your conversations are mediocre at best, then your actions will match that.
Said a better way… “Small minds discuss people; Average minds discuss events; Great minds discuss ideas.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
If you are still hanging out with your highschool friends that get drunk every weekend and talk shit about everyone in town, then don’t be surprised if you’re struggling to get your business off the ground or growing it.
The quality of conversations matter a lot!
Are you telling me that I should stop being friends with people that have been apart of my life for years?
YES! Well, kinda. I’m just saying spend less time with them. It just means you start by finding new friends who inspire you, who are positive and who will support you in pursuing your dreams.
The challenge is you might feel guilty. Like a traitor. Like you’re alienating them. But here’s what I believe:
True friends want you to be happy and to pursue your dreams and they understand that it may mean less time together just hanging out, watching football games, or partying… and if they get upset with you for that, then are they really your friends?
Dealing with toxic friends and family members
This is a tough one. I get it. I have very close family members that always seem to complain, make snide remarks and talk behind my back… but I love them. They’re blood, and I can’t cut them out of my life completely, but I can – and do – choose to spend less time with them. When I see them, I’m kind, say hello… but essentially I never go out of my way to hang out.
My friend Dandapani – one of the coolest Hindu priests I’ve ever met – calls it: Affectionate Detachment. It pretty much means to keep your distance out of love for them and you. When they’re ready (if ever) to change, then you can be there to support them, but until then – keep your distance.
Finding new friends that you can grow with
There’s something magical that happens when you start spending more time with people who are positive, ambitious and passionate about what they do. It’s best summed up with a quote:
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
~ Jim Rohn
The benefit of having lived in several major cities is that I’ve gotten really good at making new friends. Here are some ways to do that:
Go to events: When I first moved to San Francisco, I didn’t have a single friend that lived there. I just showed up and hoped for the best. My approach was simple. Go to every event that was going on, and introduce myself to the person next to me. I did this for 10 weeks straight.
Host a lunch: The best skill I’ve developed is my ability to cold email/call someone and invite them to lunch. I have to confess, it’s an art form… and I’ve probably got 10,000+ hours in it. It’s just a really great way to meet new people and build authentic relationships with people that inspire me to do more.
Volunteer: It’s simple. Assholes typically don’t volunteer, so the people you meet are pretty much guaranteed to be amazing. Many of my good friends I had in San Francisco came from my time advising Kiva.org on their social media strategy. Totally a win/win/win.
Those are the top 3 ways I believe you can find quality people to spend more time with. Do it today, take a “friendventory” and make some adjustments so you can live a happier life.
Have you cut anyone from your life? How did you do it? Any tips for the best way to approach it? Leave a comment below. I read and respond to each one.