Thursday 15 January 2015

Surround Yourself with Who You Want to Be

"Associate yourself with people of good quality.  It is better to be alone than in bad company." (Booker T. Washington)

You don't do it alone.  You need help along the road to success.  You need help in your effort to achieve your life's goals.  If you are a business person, seek out talented people.  As Henry Ford said: "I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people."  Develop potential leaders. Once your business grows, and you have to delegate responsibility, you can assign managerial tasks to these leaders.

Seek out the best employees.  Author P.J. O'Rourke, when writing about the Vietnam War protests and Women's Movement, maintained that:  "It's the beautiful women who are always on the edge of social trends."  While you don't necessarily have to hire beautiful people, you should hire professional looking people.  How you look after yourself says a lot about your personality; it shows you care.   

Create an environment of collegiality.  Learn how to build people up.  I once taught for a principal who had a talent for building his teachers up.  He focussed on our strengths, rather than our weaknesses.  I would have followed him anywhere, to any school, but he retired shortly after that.  

Joel Osteen says:  "Surround yourself with people that inspire you,  that challenge you to rise higher, that make you better."  If you are a student, seek out fellow students who will do just that.  When my husband Rob was in university, he had a friend who was always questioning Rob's work ethic.  "Why do you work so hard?" he asked.  "I barely try and I'm getting grades almost as good as you."  So, after two years of being on the Dean's Honour List, Rob slacked off in his third year.  He didn't make it on the honour roll.  In the meantime, his friend was furiously working away, trying to achieve "A's".  Mid-way through third year, Rob decided to pull up his socks and his grades gradually climbed back up.  His friend, however, couldn't sustain the pace.  He dropped out at the end of the year.  By fourth year, thankfully, Rob was back on the Dean's Honour List.   

Seek out people who build you up, who rejoice with you in your success.  Maybe you are a couple trying to adopt a baby.  I remember when Rob and I were on the waiting list to adopt a baby.  We had friends at the time who were also trying to adopt.  I took a proactive stance by completing a home study and getting on two waiting lists.  I also circulated 400 business cards telling people that my husband and I were searching for a baby to adopt.  While I heard several horror stories about couples waiting ten years and still not getting a child, I hung on to two local success stories.  If they could do it, so could we!  Meanwhile, my friend sat at home and did nothing.  Within a year and a half, I called her with the exciting news that we had a baby.  She did not sound happy for me.  In fact, she asked:  "Why did you get a baby instead of me?"  

Seek out people who you can trust.  If you're running a business, trust is tantamount. Trustworthy employees are worth their weight in gold.  You are not just trusting them with your money, but also your reputation.  Trustworthy business associates are also valuable.  If you open a business with someone, check their record first.  Are they already in massive debt? Did they already fail at business once (or more)?  

Say you're looking for a potential mate.  A trustworthy spouse not only helps build a good marriage, but also a good family.  You need someone who will make a good husband or wife.  Just as importantly, someone who will be a good role model for your future children (or present children, if you are widowed or divorced).  Choosing a spouse will likely be the most important decision you ever make.  Choose wisely!  

Seek out positive people.  "We become part of what we are around."  If you hang around people who are constantly swearing, chances are you are going to pick up the habit.  If you associate with people who are constantly complaining, odds are you will start grumbling too.  If you surround yourself with lazy people, chances are your productivity level will also go down.    Seek out people who have a talent for seeing the glass as half full, rather than half empty.  As Roy Bennett says:  "You cannot surround yourself with negative people and expect positive outcomes." 

Seek out others who are striving for a common goal.  Draw on their inspiration and encouragement. It's comforting to meet others who are in the same boat as you, to know that you are not in it alone.   

Note:  For more information, read The Winning Side:  How to Associate Yourself with Success by Stanley F. Bronstein

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