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Surround Yourself With Positive People

Date - 25 July 2016/ Category - Personal Lessons
Personal lessons

Did you know if you put 3 moderates and 1 extremist in a room for an hour and ask them to debate a topic, the 3 moderates will come out more extreme and the extremist won’t change?

There’s something pre-programed in human beings that means we gravitate towards the loudest voice in the room – we simply don’t like to disagree.

The same thing happens in the office. Put three good workers in an office with one disillusioned one and you get 4 disillusioned workers.

It’s really important then as a leader to deal with rumours, disillusionment and hearsay quickly before it becomes fact amongst the majority.

Disillusionment can spread anywhere. I’m sure it even exists in google and facebook. Poor managers ignore dissenting voices which allows negative messages to spread and more often than not those poor managers reside in companies that appear on face value to be doing well.

This isn’t a debate about whether the disillusionment is right or wrong. Every company is different, every management team is different and dissent spreads from many places; but it’s important that you understand how the people around us can affect our disposition.

When you’re running your own business, if you surround yourself with negative people, you’re much more likely to have a negative outlook than a positive one.

You might think that you’re a positive person, and you’re right. But there’s a major difference between you and your staff. When something goes wrong today, you and your team will react differently even if you think you’re not.

A problem might knock you down and make everyone in the office feeling glum today but rest assured when you go home tonight and return in the morning you’ll have picked yourself up because that’s what you do, you face defeat and you plough on through.

But your team won’t pick themselves up overnight. While you bounce into the office ready to face a new challenge, your team will still be thinking about yesterday’s problem and you’ll drain precious energy picking them up again. Getting up after a knock isn’t something employees do on their own.

After a while of picking your team up you’ll find it hard to bounce into work in the morning, at the very least you’ll find it hard to engage your brain and create. Put simply if you build a team of people who can’t pick themselves up you’re in for big trouble.

Staff aside, surrounding yourself with positive influences needs to become a habit. I’m not talking about your mum here either.

The last person you should turn to for advice on your business is your mum. She’s basically an extremist dedicated to you. She thinks you’re the next Jesus, so even if you’re trying to sell ice to the eskimos she will tell you you can do it.

You need to find people just like you that aren’t biased like your mum. You need to socialise with people who have faced defeat and kept on creating solutions; because in the heat of battle these are the people that you can depend on (these are solvers).

These people are positive and realistic at the same time. They accept that failure is a necessary evil. If you’ve got a great idea they will encourage you to progress it or tell you you’re wrong and to go back to the drawing board; usually they will meet you somewhere in between.

Accepting constructive criticism is something you’re going to need to do on a regular basis if you’re going the benefit from surrounding yourself with the right people. You simply can’t get everything right the first time you do it.

I wrote this chapter six times. James Dyson made over 5000 prototypes of his first vacuum cleaner. Everywhere you look failure is the first step to success and by surrounding yourself with people who have tasted failure but kept on going you will become richer for it because their encouragement will be filled with wisdom too.

When I started out I had three mentors. I never ended up meeting one, I met another once and the third about 3 times before he lost interest in me.

You don’t need that in your life. There’s a lot of people out there who are willing to be your mentor but their heart isn’t really in it. Don’t jump at the first offer you get, do your research and look for a natural problem solver.

You can find mentors everywhere, but finding the right mentors is difficult. Often the first mentors you find seem great but the fact is around 50% want something from you. Perhaps they professionally coach and want you to pay them one day, or maybe they think there will be some synergies between your businesses that they can profit from you.

The best mentors are harder to find. You need to find ones that don’t stand to profit from your success. This leaves you with a problem, why would they mentor you?

The most efficient mentor programs I have seen are ones where you mentor them too. Imagine a world where you just go for coffee, they tell you their problems and you tell them yours. You’ll be amazed what you can learn.

If you have the right mentor, the sum of your joint lessons will be very powerful. We assume the problems we face in life are unique events but they aren’t. We all face the same problems and spend hours trying to solve them.

Questions like “what does good look like”, “how do I get this guy to pay” or “who do I hire” have all been faced before many times over and the answers are usually similar. The problem isn’t that we don’t share that collective wisdom when asked, it’s that we don’t ask people to share it. Much like bringing up children or dealing with relationship issues, if we just asked each other for advice then we’d probably be much more successful.

My best mentor also happens to be my best friend. He’s a flash git who made his money young and then spent the next 15 years trying to figure out how he did it so he could earn more. He’s made a lot of mistakes but got back up every single time.

When we meet up we have a coffee and he tells me about his new business ideas. He always asks me to be a part of them and I almost always decline. It’s not that I think they will fail, it’s that I feel I can’t add value to them; I have his best interests at heart.

I’ll tell him what I think he’s doing wrong and how he could do certain things better. He takes it ok, but often gets a little bit wounded. The day after he’s fine.
He goes away and texts me the next day saying I’m probably right. I’m almost always right.

That’s the thing about positive criticism, we can’t always rejoice in it, but provided we are mature enough to take it on board and consider it, it can often inspire us once the emotion of feeling knocked back is gone.

As for my friend, what do I ask him? Interestingly where as he looks to me for advice on how to run his businesses better, I look to him for reassurance that I am not crazy.

When you walk down the street trying to figure out everyone’s perspective you start to realise you are not normal.

Chapter Summary:

• Nip negativity in the bud before it prospers
• Surround yourself with people that can take a knock
• Rejoice in constructive criticism.
• Find mentors that aren’t out to profit from you.

Read our next blog post “Sort out your work life balance” .