Glenford Smith | The company you keep
Recently, I responded to a reader's inquiry related to books aimed at building self-esteem and self-confidence.
In the response I quoted Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones. He said: "You will be the same person you are five years from today except for two things: the books you read and the company you keep."
This column will address the company that you keep. There is absolutely nothing that will keep you back from success like the people you surround yourself with. This refers to your spouse, your close co-workers and intimate friends.
In fact, Napoleon Hill commented on it in "Think and Grow Rich". He said, "Heading the list of the real enemies that stand between you and noteworthy achievement is the fear of criticism, failure to create plans and to put them into action because of what other will think, do or say.
"Too many people refuse to set high goals themselves, or even neglect selecting a career, because they fear the criticism of relatives and friends who may say, 'Don't aim so high, people will think you are crazy'."
Noting that fear of criticism will stop you dead in your tracks, he cautions against this. "Close your mind tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances."
On your march to success in your career, you have to look out for these people. And not all of them are malicious and want to see you fail. Some genuinely care for you. In fact, it is because they care about you why they want you to stay where they are comfortable with you. They don't want you to get hurt.
But make no mistake, they will keep you grounded. You cannot get off the ground and soar like an eagle when you have those voices echoing in your head - you can't; it's too hard; you're going to lose that money; and on and on it goes.
Jim Rohn said that you are the average of the five people closest to you - their salaries, their weight and their relationships. Look at yourself. Who are the people who you are closest to? Pay special attention to the closest five. Deliberately cultivate those.
What do I do?
I am sometimes asked, "But if I can't get rid of my negative spouse, what do I do with him or her?" No one is advising you to get rid of your spouse, you'll be glad to hear. But you are cautioned to ask them their opinion sparingly and to expect it to be negative.
It's your life. Make sure it's aligned with what you want. No one else needs to agree with you. You are not in a popularity contest.
Also, be wary about sharing your hopes and your dreams with dream killers. They will give you every reason in the book why your dream will never work. At the same time, they are chalking up accomplishment upon accomplishment.
One final thing. Use every word as motivation fuel. Let's say a friend looks at you say, "What do you think you're doing? You can't do that task before tomorrow. Who do you think you are, anyway?" Do not argue. Just bottle up what you would say to him or her. And show him or her.
- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.