We’re social animals.
Obviously! Somebody made that the title of their book! But as “solopreneurship” and lifestyle businesses continue to grow in popularity (and necessity) we are in danger of losing track of the importance of relationships. We are in danger of becoming recluses.
As we move toward an employless economy we are all the bosses. We make our own hours, we choose our work, and we choose who we see each day. These freedoms are also the forces that allow us to neglect each other.
If you’re not by yourself then you may be spending time with negative people by default. It’s easy to have lunch with that same shitty person every day just because it’s the pattern you’ve fallen into.
In the movie Cloud Atlas several characters echo the line:
Our lives are not our own, we are bound to others, past and present And be each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
Every action you take affects somebody in some way.
Richard Branson has said in multiple interviews that his best skill is attracting people that are better than him to run things. He may be the best at the world in surrounding himself with great people. One of his most important attributes as a businessman is his ability to create and inspire community.
Will and I both ran separate blogs before teaming up on StartupBros and the response we got individually was nothing compared to the instant creation of the StartupBros community. And it is a community – since Day One readers of this blog have been supporting each other and us. Combining our talents and blasting our energies together has multiplied our effect tenfold. The StartupBros Facebook group is full of entrepreneurs creating the kind of mastermind group I’ve been seeking out for years. The relationships being developed now will only grow stronger as we kick more ass together.
The people we spend time with defines our experience of life. If you are unhappy or stuck in “wantrepreneur” mode then I can guarantee you you’re surrounded by jerks. If you’re surrounded by people who make plans and then follow through you’ll find yourself doing it naturally. If you’re spending all day with people who bitch about life and don’t make any moves to change it then that will become your default. Your environment defines who you are to a frightening degree.
Start shaping your environment.
Stop hanging out with shitty people and find the ones who boost you up.
The internet has made this simple. The people you want to be associating with are right at your fingertips. There are Facebook groups and forums for anything you could possibly be interested in. If you want to hang out with inspiring business people then go to your computer and click! Even reading great books and blogs create the inputs your brain needs to begin creating the shift you’re looking for.
Introducing quality friends into your life is a process and won’t happen overnight. You can begin to be aware of it now though.
When I began consciously spending time with people who made life better everything began to shift. I found myself in a more creative space. I saw potential that I was blind to before. Business opportunities started to show up everywhere. Useful information began surfacing that would never have come up during solitary research. None of these things would really matter if it weren’t for the last one: it just makes life feel better. I feel more connected to the world because I spend my time with great people.
As I put the finishing touches on Self Made U I am again experiencing the agony that nearly every author talks about. The doubts and the loss of perspective on the thing can be overwhelming. There are several editors who’ve made this process bearable – some of my best friends in the world – and have even reintroduced me to my original inspiration for creating the damn thing. Will’s edits and additions have added to the text in huge ways and the entire book is better for it. Another friend who is preparing her own guide – a how-to for would-be exotic dancers – has turned some of my fumbling sentences into well-formed prose.
Simply put – your work can be boosted by the genius you surround it with.
Life is good when it’s spent with good people.
Here is what I’ve done to create a “network” of people in my life that make it better every day:
- What 20% of the people in your life create 80% of the goodness in it? Every one of us have people in our life we know we want to be spending more time with but don’t. Write a list of the five best people in your life that you want to spend more time with. then write five ways to spend more time with each of those people. Deepening the friendships you already have is the best way to feel more connected in this life. In business it’s imperative to have a core group of people that know you through and through – and vice versa. Besides being a prerequisite to a fulfilled life this allows people to make tailored suggestions for you and your business. When you’re getting advice on your business these are the people can tell you whether or not the move matches up with you as a person.
- What are the shittiest five people in your life? Write down what five people that you spend time with make you feel the worst. Eliminate them from your life. If you can’t eliminate them then write down five ways to give them less power in your life. Maybe the person is a family member. Maybe the person is your boss. In these instances you must figure out ways to minimize your points of contact. This is a constant process. Negative people are constantly trying to suck the energy out of those enjoying this life we’re given. Don’t give in to them. Eliminate the negative to create a void for the positive to flow into.
- Events. As a rule, I don’t like “networking” events. Everyone is bumping around from person to person passing out cards with a fake title on them and wondering how much money the person in front of them will make them. This isn’t true with all of them but it’s just the feeling I get. My favorite way to meet new people is to go to conferences about interesting things and chat with people there. Will and I go to SXSW every year and are amazed at the interesting people that flood Austin for the event. We like it so much we’ve decided to rent a house for the whole thing and you’re invited! As the event gets closer we’ll put out the details.
- Meeting friends of friends is a great way to skip a lot of the B.S. that comes with meeting someone cold. I’m constantly amazed at the friends my friends have. Check out your LinkedIn connections at the third degree. It’s insane. You are already connected to fascinating people, you just need to introduce yourself.
- Be interested. We are oftentimes so caught up in our own problems and aims that we forget to explore the lives of other people. Find out about your friends and see what they’re doing and thinking. There are wasted opportunities for connection and experience in every person we neglect to learn about.
- The inspired or drained test. After each interaction you have with someone take note of how you feel. Do you feel more energized leaving the interaction? Do you feel pumped to go do that thing you got to do? Or do you feel drained? This is a quick way to begin gauging where your socializing time should be spent.
- Project. Involve yourself in a project that will put you in contact with the people you want to be around. Figure any way you can be useful and then offer up your skills. I moved to a new city recently and wanted to meet people who loved movies as much as I do. I helped out a local production crew make a movie and grew to be close friends with much of the team. Some of my best relationships came out of that experience. Find a way to make something with people and friendships will follow.
- StartupBros. If you’re here then you’re interested in entrepreneurship. You’re motivated to do the things that others just talk about. You’re probably just a big badass. But maybe you’re having a tough time finding out exactly how to finish a step. Maybe you’re finding inspiration to take that next step. Maybe you are trying to connect with more people building great things. Whatever you’re trying to do – take advantage of StartupBros. If you have a specific business question then ask it in the comments or get in our Facebook group. There are all sorts of entrepreneurs bustling around here – retail, tech, affiliate marketing, anything you can think of. Email us if you want. We’re in love with this community and want to see it grow and grow and grow.
Somewhere along the way we forgot the importance of human relationships. In corporations you’re expected to step on others to climb the ‘ladder’. In a business run from home it’s tough to remember that you need other people.
Even when you’re working alone, you’re on a team. Shape that team into something that inspires and energizes you.
Don’t let shitty people suck your energy and time. Save it all for those who you deem deserving.
Refocus your relationships and watch as your life is transformed.
We’re glad you’re here!
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