productivity maze

Jim Rohn famously said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. It strikes a deep truth. Our social circle deeply affects our behaviors and thinking. We adopt habits and lifestyles of our peers. When we hang out with people who are ambitious, it pushes us to be ambitious. The reverse is also true- when we spend time with slackers, it creates a mindset that it’s ok for us to slack off too.

When you’re a business owner the impetus is on you to push your company and brand forward. To stagnant is to fail, especially in today’s crowded market. As weird as it might be to think about, your social circle can be critical to your company’s success. 

There are a few steps you can take to use your social circle to make your business run better.

Step 1: Assess Your Current Social Circle

Your current social circle may not be all doom and gloom. If you’ve got solid friends who are making good choices in their lives you’re off to a great start. Friends who are saving money, teaching themselves new skills, attending events, and generally are doing things that move them forward are a great social circle to run in.

These kinds of people are taking steps to widen their world and improve themselves. Those are the same kinds of steps you need to take as a business owner.

If however, your friends can instead be found more often on the couch than at an event, then you might want to re-think. Ask yourself what the last activity you did with your social circle was? If it was more akin to something found in a stoner comedy than a Ted Talk, you might have a problem.

Step 2: Be Genuine in Your Friendships

No one wants to be used. That’s not what changing your social circle is about. When you feel ready to grow to the next level as both a business and a person is when you’ll find success. By surrounding yourself with like-minded people, you’ll naturally click.

If you’re simply striving for a quick win, or trying to ride someone else’s coattails, stop reading right now. You’re not doing it right, and it will be obvious to everyone who meets you.

Connect with people over common interests, ways you can help them, and how you can be a supporter of theirs. These are people you want to be your friend, not simply names you’re checking off a list.

Step 3: Find The Circle You Want to Be In

In order to change the social circle you run in you have to know where you want to be. This applies to both your business goals and who you want to be spending time with.

If you find yourself stalking the social media pages of a few people over and over again, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re drawn to them and the things they’re doing.

Find three to five people whose work excites you that are in the same business world that you are. Follow them on social media and follow their most current work. Become a cheerleader for them. This benefits you in two ways: one, it keeps you in the loop about things that are going on in your business world. Two, it shows the people that you are a genuine admirer with something to offer on your own.

Step 4: How to Reach out

Once you’ve found the group you want to be in, it’s time to reach out. Send your friend-crush an email, or leave a comment on their Instagram. Do this especially if they’re local to where you are. Ask to buy them coffee and talk about what they’re doing that you love.

Hang out with people in productive spaces. Inviting someone to a late night bar where everyone is drinking and it’s too loud to hear them is not the way to start a new friendship, nor does it say ‘I’m a person whose got it it together.’

Surround yourself with great people doing great things, and you’ll notice that you start doing more great things. When one person shines, they remind us althatht we can shine as well. Be both an inspiration and take inspiration from your social circle.



Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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