One of the things my parents used to teach me is the concept of “guilt by association” … I remember them telling me that if I went with my friends and they robbed a bank, I would go to jail right along with them.
Since I’ve been paying more attention to the associations I join and the company I keep, I’ve also noticed a phenomenon in my own life I’ll call “success by association” … or sometimes I think of it as “intensity by association.” I don’t know about you, but when I’m around those really successful, really intense entrepreneurs and leaders, I can’t help but wanting to be a little like them. I find that their tips on running their lives, their companies, their homes are always packed full of nuggets.
One successful entrepreneur I know told me once when I was complaining about being too busy to do new things that “Time is not a limiting factor. WE are a limiting factor. You are a limiting factor! There is always time for what you want to find time for.” What I learned from that quote is that not having enough time will never be a valid excuse for anyone to not start a company, have quality time with their family, or do anything else. You have to control your time.
Here are some of the tips I give to college kids I mentor to help them associate up:
- Try and notice when you enjoy being around folks who make you feel successful, just because you’ve done more than they have – go find the people who make you feel lazy because they’ve already run 20 miles before your alarm goes off at 7:00am!
- When hiring your team, keep this in mind: you want everyone on your team to be smarter, quicker, leaner, and meaner than even you are… this will drive you to be more like them… as long as you have the self-confidence to embrace this.
- Find the formal associations (like Rotary, Young Entrepreneurs Council, Chambers of Commerce, Entrepreneurs Organization) where successful leaders spend their time. Be there with them. If they are there, it’s a sign that you should be there too.
- Help out those who you admire, for no reason but to help them. Offer to help with their companies, make introductions to them, introduce them to sales opportunities, offer to assist with their favorite charities.
What else can you do to associate up?”