It’s a fact that we become like the five people we spend the most time with, therefore it’s so important to ensure you have people within your inner circle who inspire you, believe in you, support you and stretch you.
For some years now I’ve understood the importance of surrounding yourself with a group of like-minded peers, who meet regularly, set stretch goals, both individually and as a group, support each other in the achievement of those objectives and most importantly, hold each other to account. All the senior members of our business are members of a Mastermind or a facilitated Forum.
This decision was underpinned by the importance of surrounding yourself with what I term ‘Powerful Peers’, something I describe in more detail in one of my books ‘A New You – the small changes that make the biggest difference to your life’.
Characteristics of a Powerful Peer
- Is self-aware
- Believes in you unconditionally
- Does not dis-empower you or put you down
- Supports your goals and vision
- Reminds you that when things don’t go your way it’s just another opportunity to learn from your experiences
- Holds you to a higher standard
- Makes you accountable for your successes and your failures
- Encourages you to stick to your commitments
- Is pleased for you when you create success, (as opposed to being jealous or judgmental)
- Compliments your weaknesses or has experience in areas that you are moving into (and vice versa)
- Gives sound and structured advice with no agenda
Look at the list above, and then look at the people you spend the most time with, do they do any of the things on the list?
Attracting Powerful Peers
When I first started my first business back in 2004, no one in my immediate circle ran their own company and at the time (motivated by a desire to protect me from myself) the majority of advice I received from those around me was to stick in my paid employment and these wise words were supported with a myriad of reasons why my business would fail – before it had even started!
Clearly I needed to find some new peers, which doesn’t by the way mean you cut out of your life anyone who doesn’t share your ambition or ‘world-view’, but in my case it meant I needed to find people who had already lived the experiences I was going through and who would inspire me to succeed in my new ventures.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation then here are a few ideas on attracting Powerful Peers into your life;
- Research & then attend appropriate networking groups and business clubs but don’t just go once. You may need to invest a good few months into making connections and building relationships with the people you meet.
- Look for clubs that have some ‘barriers to entry’, i.e. they only allow membership from the type of organisations or levels of experience you are looking to model. Even if you don't yet meet their full membership criteria, very often they have open events you maybe able to attend in the interim, meaning you can still connect with other like-minded individuals as you and your business grows.
- Use your supplier base (such as your bank or accountant) to facilitate introductions to other liked-minded people.
- Appoint a Non-Executive Director, or even a Chairman (choose wisely!) to give you a supportive and alternative view of your business.
- For structured on-going peer support, join an organisation that offers Forums (or what’s sometimes called Mastermind) where a group of members meet regularly, at least monthly. A word of caution, most non-membership based Forums, i.e. a small group of individuals who agree they will meet regularly actually fall apart as members struggle to maintain their initial level of commitment. Without doubt, facilitated (or membership based) Forum groups achieve the greatest levels of success.
- Connect through social media. In the business community LinkedIn groups & discussions are ideal for this, as is finding other appropriate forums & discussion boards.
- And finally, become a Powerful Peer yourself. Live by Powerful Peer standards and not only will you regain more respect but you will attract the type of relationships into your circle that you wish to foster.