As we strive to do great things in our lives, we must pay careful attention to the individuals that we surround ourselves with.

Jim Rohn coined the phrase, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with“, and it could not be more true or critical to our success.

Take a moment and think through who those 5 people are for you… Are they making you better or holding you back?  Are they driving you to be below average or building you up towards greatness?

As we push to become our best we must make sure the environment that we create for ourselves fully supports and nurtures our desired growth and development.

If you are not surrounding yourselves with right group, then the negativity and limiting thinking that you could be exposed to on a daily or weekly basis may seem harmless enough, but can and will begin to grow and spread in your mind over time. Before you know it, your goals and dreams may seem too daunting or too risky to pursue.  Do not let this become your fate – be aware of your surroundings.

Make sure your surroundings are always building up and supporting your dreams – not suffocating them.


Build your Inner Circle into your Circle of Genius 

I’ve heard the term ‘Circle of Genius’ from a few different sources, and cannot think of a better way to describe what this group should become for you and be for those within.

This isn’t the same thing as building a team, although many of the traits should be the same.  Your Circle of Genius should be those closest to you that you can talk to about anything.  They may be family, friends, colleagues, coaches or other people that are aligned with your future vision and goals.  Whoever they are for you, they must be honest and not afraid to give you constant feedback and constructive criticism, and should not hesitate to call you out when you aren’t giving your all.

So let’s look at a couple quick ways to begin building and nurturing your Circle of Genius.

Be clear on what you want for yourself – If we are to surround ourselves with the best people to help us get to where we want to go, we need to make sure we actually know where we are going and what we most value.   Once you have this level of clarity, it should guide your Circle of Genius.  Do you want to be healthy? Surround yourself with healthy and fit people.  Do you want to be more spiritual? Surround yourself with spiritually strong people.  Do you want to be financially fit?  Surround yourself with the people that achieved or are close to achieving the financial goals you want for yourself.

Look with open and honest eyes at who you surround yourself with today – Now that you know what you want, are the people you spend the most time with moving you towards your goals or holding you back?  This can be difficult, because sometimes the ones holding you back are your closest friends or family.  This doesn’t mean they don’t have your best interests at heart.  However they may talk you out of taking certain risks or trying different things out of fear of failure or setbacks – they are trying to ‘protect you’, but are actually (and unknowingly) doing the opposite.  You have to take big risks to get big rewards, so make sure your Circle of Genius is putting you in the best position mentally, physically and spiritually to attack those risks and win!

Weed out the negativity and cultivate the positivity – This will be the hardest part, but it is necessary.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you have to turn your back on anyone.  But I am challenging you to look at where you are spending your time and make sure you are spending the majority with those that are helping you grow.  Identify which voices are encouraging you and building you up – take those to heart.  Then notice which voices are holding you back or dragging you down into a sea of negativity – get rid of what you can, and tune out the rest.  As much as possible, replace those weeds with more people that will help you grow.

Beware of being top dog – This sounds counterintuitive, but with what we are trying to accomplish, it is extremely important.  If you are the best in your group you may think things are going great, but the reality is that you run the risk of no longer growing.  I’m sure many of you have heard the management axiom of hiring people to your team that are smarter than you.  The same concept holds true here – your Circle of Genius should contain people that constantly challenge you to be better because they reached or are further along with reaching the level of greatness that you are driving towards yourself.  It can be a fun ego boost to be top dog, but be prepared to hit a plateau if you’re not there already.

Remember it isn’t just about you – I know everything I’ve discussed makes it sound like this ‘Circle of Genius’ is there solely to help you succeed, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Make those around you better!  Just because people in your circle may have already achieved what you want doesn’t mean you can’t up their game as well – challenge and hold them accountable in all the areas they want to grow.  In fact, you must be able to provide value to the rest of your circle, otherwise you may find yourself without one!   Just like you don’t want to be the top dog, you also don’t want to be viewed as a weak link that is holding everyone else back.  Do your part to raise the bar for those around you.  If your inner circle continues to challenge each other and make everyone better, then that group will keep excelling and go above and beyond what they originally thought possible.

The Road Ahead

I hope you find value in the concept of your Circle of Genius, as I believe it is something extremely important and well worth sharing!

Again, I’m not recommending throwing away lifelong friendships, but rather making sure your greatest asset in life – time – is primarily spent with those who have a strong and sincere desire to help you grow into the person you want to be, dominate your goals, and achieve your vision.

So get out there and surround yourself with people that are as hungry, dedicated, and driven as you!

Discussion Question: What is one upgrade you can make to your circle of genius this week? Remember, that upgrade can be you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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