Family and Friends
Before you venture out into the real world with a new idea, you should think about running it by some of your trusted friends and family members. This can be difficult because they can be your biggest critics. Your family should always give you both positive and negative comments that you may not hear from the general public. Even if they don’t have the level of insight you have on the given topic, family can help you identify all the problem words and complex statements that might turn your audience against you presenting your next presentation.
I always surround myself with people from whom I can learn from. While attending an information technology conference at Bowling Green University in 2007, the speaker stated that you are the average of five people you hang out with. This was a very life changing statement for me. He then went on to talk about the different types of friends he has and who he actually spends the majority of his time with. I then took note of that and started to reposition what I did in my free time. I found myself hanging around older, more mature individuals who actually had something to teach. This caused problems with some of my college buddies who I liked to hang out with before, but no longer desired to. You have to be able to pull away from some people for a while so you can advance. There is an old saying that states we should “lift as we climb”. But in most cases our friends and family pull us down as they fall. This is because of their insecurities.
You should surround yourself with people you want to be like. Look at the following graph and look at the upper most group of technically minded individuals and the lower most group of people who are just getting by or not trying to get by or who are just happy where they are in life. If that’s where you want to be then go for it. I choose to hang out with a little bit of everyone, but spend most of my time with entrepreneurs and creative art types.
Creating a Mastermind Group:
The whole idea behind creating a mastermind group is to create a support system that will ultimately lead to the success of an idea. Author Napoleon Hill first defined a mastermind group as a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose”.
Mr. Hill was inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s mastermind group consisting of around fifty men whom he always kept around. Their definite purpose was to sell and market steel products. Together with his team of fifty men he was able to dominate the steel market for years until his death.
You’re going to need to find a group of people who want you to succeed at a particular task. These people will give you consistent feedback only on the topic you decided previously. Their only job is to make sure you stay on topic and you stay focused on your idea. Your mastermind group will make sure you are not all over the place. At the end of the day your mastermind group is there to hold you accountable for your actions.
I know what you’re thinking. Where in the heck will I find fifty people? You don’t need fifty people to start your group. I use three different groups of people: family, college/grad school buddies, and business contacts I have made over the years. We all stay in contact via social networking, email, private networks, and telephone calls. You don’t have to meet with them everyday to be effective. I like to call at least once a week and check in with some of my best friends and acquaintances.
Remember, some friends and family can also hold you back with their own insecurities and selfish ways. So pick your mastermind group like you pick your fruit. In closing of this chapter, remember the words of Napoleon Hill, “Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune and many of those who have accumulated a modest fortune, and you will find that they have either consciously or unconsciously employed the mastermind principle”.