Your fulfillment in life … your relationships, your project success, your career success, your business success, your financial success; ALL of your success … is TOTALLY predictable!
No, I’m not a fortuneteller, and I certainly do not have a crystal ball. But neither is necessary to assess your destination, your fulfillment, and your success (or not!)
As far back as 1895, Gustavo Le Bon published a study which found that an individual who is immersed in a specific group of people for six weeks or more will be “hypnotized” by the magnetic influence of that group. In the 1950s, psychologist Soloman Asch released research that supported Le Bon’s results. He stated that people take the same direction as the group they are in; their own direction vanishes in the presence of the group.
This research began more than 100 years ago. Studies over all these years have continued to report similar results. Perhaps we should take note!
I’m pretty sure that my dad never dove into research as I do. But he did talk to us a lot about this: “If you hang out with skunks, you will come home stinking like a skunk… and skunks don’t sleep in my house!” I think that was a South Texas boy’s way of teaching us about an ancient proverb that says … “bad company corrupts good morals.”
Interestingly enough, research also shows that people select their friends based on proximity. Studies conducted at major universities found that students befriended people who sat near them in the classroom. They tended to befriend those seated close to them, rather those with the same interests as theirs, but seated elsewhere. Similar research has been conducted about the work-place. Again, people who work in close proximity are more likely to befriend one another than befriend those with similar interests, but located in another part of the office. The bottom line? We simply don’t pay much attention to those with whom we spend most of our time. We fill our circles of influence with those close at hand! (Are we THAT unintentional? Apparently so.)
The same principle applies to our finances. Former Yahoo director, Tim Sanders, is known for this quote, “Your network is your net worth.” Ongoing research says the same. It says that if we take the average income of the five people with whom we spend the most time, our income is likely within 10% of that average. WOW!
The first time I heard this, I was in graduate school, struggling along with student loans and the pitiful income of teaching classes to undergrads. I spent 90% of my time with other struggling graduate students. I knew that most of them were living on student loans. Most didn’t even have the teaching job that I had.
Just in case the research was true, I began to study in the graduate school conference room, where the professors hung out. You may call it coincidence, but while I was hanging out there, one of the professors learned that I was a certified interpreter for the deaf. He had recently interviewed a deaf student who wanted to enter our program, but they were struggling to find an interpreter. As a result, I got the job to interpret classes. It paid well! In addition, I was able to interpret the classes I needed for my degree plan … so I got paid to attend required classes. SWEET!! As a result, I was able to graduate with all of my student loans paid off!
It made a believer out of me!
Tony Robbins is a big proponent of raising our standards by improving our connections. He often says, “Your life is a reflection of your standards, and what you’re willing to tolerate. If you are willing to tolerate unhealthy relationships and surround yourself with others who have unhealthy relationships, your destiny is sealed. You are destined to have unhealthy relationships. But if you raise your standards and surround yourself with people whom also have higher standards for better relationships, yours will improve dramatically. The same is true for your finances, your career, and your fulfillment in life.”
If you are unsatisfied with the quality of your relationships, the fulfillment in your life, your financial condition, your career, and your business; raise your standards. Surround yourself with people who have higher standards and also challenge you to greatness.
Again… let me stress that all of this is predictable. Give me an hour with the people with whom you spend the most time, and after I interview them I can tell you what your future holds.
So, let me ask you to review these questions. (These are not rhetorical questions. This is an exercise that I think will be very valuable to you.)
1. Make a list of the five people with whom you spend the most time.
2. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is their income level?
- What do their relationships look like?
- How motivated are they?
- How fulfilled are they?
- Are they committed to personal growth?
- Do they inspire you to look at yourself honestly?
- Do they inspire you to make personal improvements?
- Do they hold beliefs that are in alignment with your beliefs?
- Do they address beliefs in a way that encourages you to greatness?
- Or do you leave the situation feeling torn down?
- When there is conflict do they encourage you to greatness?
- Or do you leave the situation feeling torn down?
- Do their standards call you to a higher level?
- Or are you settling down to theirs?
Research indicates that 20% of the population is moving forward (growing and improving), 60% of the population is mimicking the lower standards of those surrounding them, and 20% of the population is regressing (becoming worse in their bad habits and allowing their good habits to slip).
I want to be a part of the 20% who are learning, growing, and improving. I feel certain that the same is true for you!
How do we join the top 20%?
- Examine the standards that we hold for ourselves. Elevate those standards! For 30 years, I have embraced a tradition of examining my life in seven key areas. Then making small shifts that will improve all seven of those areas. For example, I value my health and well-being. Thirty years ago, because of an unexpected and difficult challenge, I gave up eating sugar. That was a big one, because I was a true sugar addict. This is only one way I improve my health, and each year I step up my game in other ways.
- You have taken inventory of the five people with whom you spend the most time. (I know you did the inventory … and I know you didn’t just keep reading … you actually pulled out a pen and paper and made some notes!). Now it’s time to assess if you need to make some changes in your top five. And no, you don’t need to get a divorce, and you don’t need to unfriend everybody on Facebook! Simply identify new people who will better fit those slots, then increase your time with them.
- Become someone who inspires others to raise their standards. How do you do that? I have specific things that I do to equip me for that daily. First, at the beginning of each day, I listen to something that inspires me and calls me to greatness. Once I have done that, I am equipped, and have something to offer others (you cannot give away what you do not have). Secondly, part of my daily proclamation is about encouraging others, building up others, and calling out greatness. Then I set my reticular activating system (RAS) such that my RAS is looking for opportunities to inspire others. (If you have not read my article about the power of setting the reticular activation system in your brain, please click here!)
Research indicates that most people are too afraid to surround themselves with others who will challenge them to raise their game. One psychologist has said, “Fearful, insecure people never realize that the main reason behind their mediocre, unfulfillable lives are the choices they have made when it comes to their circle of influence.”
You should read that last quote again! And again!
The law of proximity is powerful, and your circle of influence predicts the fulfillment in your life. It predicts the quality of your relationships. It predicts your financial success. It predicts your career success. It predicts your business success.
This is NOT Neecie speaking! This is RESEARCH speaking! PLEASE TAKE HEED!!
The thing I am most passionate about is training and certifying Life Coaches. But way beyond the certification course, one of the things that warms my heart the most is the powerful circle of influence that I see my students build in the process. That circle will last for many, many years beyond the training.
One of the reasons that I do this blog, and broadcast on Facebook live every Tuesday night, is to bring together amazing, inspiring, stellar folks to stir in you the possibility of greater things. And to challenge you, with a lot of love and support, to raise your standards! To create the kind of life you desire and deserve!