With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you’re surely already thinking about who’s going to be there. Maybe your significant other is already trying to figure out seating, and where to put everything once the meal is ready, but let’s take a step back from that and talk about the bigger picture…
Who’s got a seat at your table in life?
I’ve spoken for years about the importance of having your internal team composed of top-notch professionals, no matter how small that team is. At the bare minimum, you know you need a CPA or EA, an attorney, and your insurance people to be the best in their class; and you can only hire the best people to handle the job itself, but what about when you leave work?
Who’s on the team then?
If you’re a bicyclist, you don’t hang out with joggers.
If you are a crossfitter, you likely aren’t working out with powerlifters.
Or, to put it in more religious terms, you don’t find a lot of Protestants going to Mass.
So why would you, as a professional – an entrepreneur and successful business owner –spend your free time with folks who have no frame of reference to what your life is really like? After all, when W-2 folks go to happy hour after work, what do they do? Complain about work? The boss? The job?
You are the boss and you created the job – how can you complain about it unless you choose to not make it better?
Now is when this conversation gets uncomfortable. You might need to fire some acquaintances.
If you are always the smartest person in the room, then you need to get a better room or risk your success by socializing beneath where you want to be. Is that harsh? Yep. Does being nice pay the bills or do you have to be a leader in your business and your space to continue to build on your success and grow your company?
Here’s what this isn’t:
I’m not telling you to quit speaking to your friends. I’m not saying divorce your spouse because he or she is a wage earner. I am saying that you need to challenge yourself to find and associate with people who are of a like mind and can share and sympathize with the road you travel as an entrepreneur. Be the dumbest guy in the room. Be the sixth Beatle. Be in that “group of rich guys/girls that eat lunch here on Tuesday”.
And here’s why-
Inevitably, you are going to ask for advice and the advice that is given to you from people you know, like, and trust, is going to be the advice you use to shape and grow your company. If that advice and those anecdotes leads you to growth strategies and positive solutions for issues you are encountering, then your business and resources will grow. On the other hand, if you’re asking for white collar advice from blue collar folks, they aren’t going have any chance to steer you in the right directions.
If you don’t believe me, take this test: After your next doctor’s appointment (no matter what it was for), ask the doctor for a bit of detailed advice about your own health.
Volunteer that little nugget among the “experts” you commonly hang out with and see how they respond. Some will acquiesce, but I’m willing to bet that a few “experts” tell you why the doctor was wrong and then tell you to do practically the opposite.
You are the sum of who you spend time with. Their opinions begin to color yours, so be the least wealthy, the least successful, and the newest entrepreneur. The only way to go is up, and that was the plan for your company from the start.
See you on the way “up”!