How many of you are familiar with the motivational speaker, Jim Rohn?  You may not know the name, but I would be willing to bet you have heard some version of his famous line, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  If you have ever spent any time around me, chances are you’ve heard me say this as I could not agree with it any more than if I had said it myself.  Just think about it for a minute.  Who influences you?  It’s the people around you.  Who do you listen to and take advice from?  Those around you.  These people are very important to where you go in life and how you get there.  As you change and grow throughout your life, these people will also change.


Think about when you were a kid and who these 5 people may have been for you.  For most of us I’m sure our parents were at the top of the list, followed by those special teachers, other family members and even our best friends.  At these earlier stages in life, we often do not get to choose those that are close to us.  While many of us are fortunate to be surrounded by positive people that motivated us to reach for the stars, and helped pick us up when we fell, others are not so lucky.  Unfortunately, the world is not always a fair place and some were not dealt the best hand.  However, the great thing about life is, you can change things at any time.


Once you reach a certain age, maturity level and have the ability to truly think for yourself, you have complete control of what you do and those that you spend your time around.  The earlier stage of adulthood is when you are oftentimes figuring out who you really are for the first time.  Take this time seriously and look around you, study the world and what is going on in it.  Ask yourself, where do you want to be.  Then find those people that can help you get there.  Listen to them.  Watch them.  What are they doing and why are they doing it.

As we get a bit older, these are the people that will keep us on track during the hard times and push us forward in the good ones.  Unfortunately, we can find ourselves having to start over in this stage.  It maybe life in general (divorce or widow) or maybe something like moving to a new state/country or a change in careers.  There are even major life changes when your children move on to lives of their own and your role changes.  Having a strong team around you can make all the difference in the world.

So, who are THESE people.  Honestly, they can be almost anyone.  Here are a few categories that can help define those that should be a part of your TEAM:

  1. Mentor – this is someone that has successfully walked in the shoes that you are wanting to be in or to follow in.  They can share ideas and show you the possibilities that are in front of you.  This could be someone close to you that you meet with on a regular basis or even maybe a person that you admire from afar but follow closely to learn how and why they do what they do.  In following them, you may mimic what they do to aspire to achieve what they have achieved.  Look at their roadmap.  Yours may not be identical, but you don’t have to start from scratch either.  Listening is your most important tool in this relationship.
  2. Catalyst/Motivator – these are often times going to be people that you spend the most time with, your peers and/or colleagues.  They are generally following on the same road you are and therefore understand what you are going through.  They can help with different perspectives, motivation or just generally be there as sounding board (listener).  These people are leaders and want to make sure everyone is on a successful path.  It is common that you have more than one person in this category.  For instance, mastermind or peer advisory groups are great for this type of influence in business.
  3. Coach/Accountability Partner – Coaches can be a wonderful asset and give you just that push you need when you need it.  You’ve probably heard people mention phrases like, “You wouldn’t try to win Wimbledon without a coach, so why would you … (fill in what career issue you are currently struggling to figure out).”  Coaching is an area that has become highly specialized over time.  There are Visionary, Life, Health, Career, Relationship coaches, and the list goes on and on.  No matter where you are in life, you can find that person that can make that road less traveled just a bit easier.
  4. Connectors – While these people may not be able to directly help you in your mission, they do know the person that can.  Introductions and referrals are vitally important, both in our personal and business lives.  Connectors get around and have amazing resources and want to be able to share them.
  5. Right-Hand – We can all use an extra one of these, right?  This is such an important part of your team.  We usually think of this person as an assistant.  That person that does everything we need them to do, when we need them to do it and just how we want it done.  However, this could be someone like your spouse or significant other.  That person that is your other half and just makes your life that much easier because they are there.  He/she always has your back, gives you the extra push when you need it or maybe is just your biggest cheerleader.  They are always there and can inspire and motivate you at those critical times.

Those categories listed above are not set in stone.  There is not a perfect formula to follow, but only what works best for you.  I do want you to take the time, sit down and seriously think about the 5 people that you spend most of your time around.  Write them down.  Look at each person’s strengths and weaknesses.  What do they add to your life or possibly take away.  I suggest not including your children in your “5” people.  Obviously, you spend a great deal of time with your children, but look outside of them.  Look to those that you have a choice about spending your precious time with.  Don’t skip this step as it is vitally important to your growth and where you will find yourself in life.

Now that you have this list, I want you to look at it closely and ask yourself, “Do I need an upgrade?”