Who you "hang with" impacts how high you can go in terms of your growth and leadership influence. It’s true academically, athletically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially. It’s true at work and in the community. The caliber and character of the people you spend and invest the most time with will raise or lower the level of your leadership. I want to hang with people who raise my game athletically, professionally, personally, creatively, and, most of all, spiritually.
So the key question remains:
Who am I "hanging with" and how are they affecting my growth?
I think there are at least 3 factors that are important in deciding who you invest your time with:
- Common Core Values – While it is very possible to have a relationship with people who have very different values than you, your closest relationships must be with people who share the same values as you. In this way, you can mutually invest in each other and have a context for sharing advice, encouragement, and accountability.
- Shared Context – You are going to receive the most relevant feedback from people who know you best. Shared context is about investing time with people who understand the events and circumstances that have led to this moment. You should look for people who share a common mission, a similar role as you, or have gone through key experiences with you.
- Shared Goal – It is important that you clearly define the goals you want to accomplish in life and then surround yourself with people who can help you get there. If you are striving for excellence at work, yet “hang with” people who are just collecting a paycheck and have no ambition for making a positive difference in the world, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and realize you are still on the same road to mediocrity.
Take an assessment of your life today. First, evaluate the people that you are spending the most time with and decide if they are the right people. Second, identify the your roles in life (athlete, friend, father, mother, leader, student, etc.), and list at least 3 people that you go to for advice in each of these areas. If you do not have someone in a certain area, invest some time to find a mentor who can provide mutual advice, encouragement, and accountability. Finally, schedule time with your mentors on a regular basis. Invest in the relationship, and the returns will be mutually beneficial to both of you!
What factors have helped you identify mentors in your life? What has been the best advice you have received from a mentor?