“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Jim Rohn.
Let’s say that ONE. MORE. TIME.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Stop and think about that for a moment.
Who are your five? Scribble them down in your notepad and then say them out loud.
When you look at them and consider the collective average, does that statement EXCITE you or TERRIFY you?
Does it align with the vision you have for your future self (👍🏻), exceed it (🙌🏻) or fall short (👎🏻) ?
The truth of the matter is that your BIG crazy dream, you know, the one you’re a little hesitant to tell most people because you fear their “pssshhhh, you’re crazy” reaction, may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself.
Translation: in order to achieve that dream, you may need to level up and actively seek out a new environment that enables and encourages (read: forces!) you to confidently step into your own and shine.
If you grew up in a connected, well-to-do family, then maybe all you had to do was ask Aunt Chrissy or Uncle Joe to introduce you to their high-flying, super successful neighbor, colleague or friend.
However, if you grew up with more humble beginnings like your friend Mel (🙋🏼), you had to be more industrious as your family didn’t know those types of people, nor did they have the exclusive memberships to the country club, sailing club, turf club or stadium corporate box – or access to the cash to buy your way in.
But guess what? All is not lost!
In the words of one of the five people I spend the most time with… (yes, virtual one-way relationships count)
“When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse.” Rachel Hollis.
So with this can-do attitude 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 let’s dive into the exact strategies you can put in place RIGHT NOW to go from scrolling your Instagram feed, wondering how the hell every ‘successful’ person you follow seems to be soul sisters or best buds with every other ‘successful’ person you follow to getting yourself a seat at THEIR table.
Let’s do this!
Strategy 1: Masterminds
While masterminds are the hottest thing to be part of right now, and I absolutely believe in their power IF you find the right one. In truth, most have an incredibly high cost of entry. If you’re set on joining one, most members openly promote their group so with a little research (a.k.a stalking Insta feeds), you should be able to easily identify which ones your fave mentors are engaged with.
To take things one step further (clearly I should work for the FBI) most masterminds have in-person elements as part of their membership benefits. Keep a look out for who gets tagged in the images from those events.
While we typically want to follow in the footsteps of those we look up to, cost of entry can be a barrier when starting out so we need to make well informed decisions. Check out the profiles of others in the group to ensure they align with the type of person you want your future self to be. Imagine joining a group only to find out that your idol has decided to discontinue their membership. You should not join a mastermind based on one individual.
And one final tip: most mastermind producers will offer several programs that you can move through as you progress in your career or business. Keep a look out for how many people progress from one to the next to gauge how beneficial membership in the group actually can be.
Masterminds not your jam? That’s A-OK! Keep reading for more cost effective methods to achieve a similar outcome.
Strategy 2: Collaboration Hubs
If you work from home, collaboration hubs like WeWork, Spaces and The Wing create incredible co-working spaces for individuals who are passionate about professional development and expanding their networks. Members can come together to work, connect, create community, and thrive. Joining is often less expensive than masterminds and gives you access to a host of educational and social events and a seat at the table (literally!).
Book a site tour online and get out of your house and into an environment that fosters positive engagement and meaningful relationships. (NOTE: Many places have COVID protocols in place to still give you the fresh perspective a coworking space provides without the health risk.)
Strategy 3: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is straight up designed to help people make business connections. With a quick search of a job title, industry, or company, we literally have access to almost any professional we could ever want to connect with.
Block time in your calendar at least three times a week to explore, engage and network on this platform.. Once you’ve found people you’d like to connect with, reach out to introduce yourself, and briefly explain WHY you want to connect (new to the city, new business, landed dream job, etc). When you reach out with a note you are more likely to get a “hell yes!” to your connection request.
Follow the connection up with a request to grab a cup of coffee (or other bevvie) and take the online relationship offline. You’ll be surprised how many people take you up on your offer.
Strategy 4: Instagram & Facebook
Instagram and Facebook open up a world of opportunity to discover and connect with virtually (pardon the pun) any type of person you could possibly want to meet. What makes these platforms even more convenient is the ability to scroll through the followers of each person you connect with and see who they follow AND who follows them. It’s like cracking your network (and theirs!) wide open each time you connect with someone new.
Now before you go and 10x the number of people you follow, let me be clear:
The simple act of following new people and consuming their posts and stories is not going to move the needle in terms of fostering true connection and actual friendships.
To do that, you need to interact with posts and add value where possible. Once you exchange a few comments/DMs with each other, go ahead and introduce yourself more broadly. Succinctly describe your aim for reaching out, what value you can add to their life/career/business, and state your ask (i.e. 15 minutes of their time for a call, grabbing a coffee, or lunch.)
Whatever you do, DO NOT try and sell them ANYTHING. People buy from people they know, like and trust. An initial intro message is not the time for this. Just keep on keeping on and eventually someone is going to take you up on your offer.
Strategy 5: Clubhouse
Clubhouse is a chat room-style social media app that has everyone talking (literally). Currently in beta mode, it requires an invite to join and is only available for iPhone users.
How exactly does it work? My good friend Claire Hoffman from BizBash describes it perfectly so rather than recreate the wheel, let me share what she said.
“Once you get an invite from an existing member, you can set up your profile and use the search function to find people to connect with and clubs that are relevant to your interests. When those people and clubs are hosting a conversation (a virtual panel), you’ll see a notification in your main feed (or “hallway,” as Clubhouse calls it). You can choose to pop in as a listener and see who else is there, learn about or connect with the speakers, and listen as long as you’d like; you can also choose to “raise your hand” to join the virtual stage if moderators allow it.”
The conversations are not recorded—which gives it the feel of peeking in on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes chat with experts in your field.
Should you join?
Personally, I’m not a fan. If there is someone I want to connect with, ask advice or a question, I can use one of my existing channels to reach out and connect or go directly to the contact details on their website.
Strategy 6: Industry Memberships
Industry Memberships are a great way to meet and enhance connections with like-minded professionals. Most organizations host monthly events where for the cost of an entry ticket, you gain access to a room full of peers, potential mentors, and possibly even a future partner or preferred supplier.
Next time you see an industry event advertised, purchase a ticket, and even if every ounce of your being would prefer to be on your couch watching The Bold Type, or The Real Housewives of any city, force yourself to attend. They aren’t anywhere near as scary or intimidating once you’re there.
Strategy 7: Conferences
Conferences are one of the best ways you can stay educated, motivated and inspired throughout the year. Whether it’s industry specific, business or personal development, if it’s focused on an area of interest, it’s very likely you’ll make great new connections and have a whole heap of fun along the way.
If you’re attending on your own, see if the program offers a first-timers event the night before the conference officially begins. If they don’t, put a callout on your social media using the event hashtag asking if anyone wants to grab dinner or a drink the night prior OR post on the event’s Facebook page asking if there is anyone from your city attending who’d like to do the same. You’ll be surprised how many others are also looking for a ‘buddy’ to ‘conference’ with.
Strategy 8: Community Groups
Community Groups whether it be via Meetup, a Facebook Group or an independent operator are a wonderful way to meet people in general. While they are not as targeted as the professional options listed above, they are a great way to get out of your comfort zone, experience new things, have some fun, and make new friends.
It was via a Meetup event that I met the person who went on to refer me for my first in-house role in the USA. Don’t be afraid to share your story and put yourself out there – people gravitate to authentic like-minded people. I’m living proof that the flow-on effects from those relationships can transform your entire life.
Strategy 9: Go All In
One of my favorite quotes is “be so good they can’t ignore you,” Steve Martin. Strategies 1 through 8 have you reaching out, and putting in all the effort which is absolutely part of the process BUT what if you redirected some of that energy into GOING ALL IN on your own BIG dream instead?
With a rock solid product/service and a great marketing plan, could you create enough impact to start attracting the type of person you want to be – to you?
I know it sounds harsh, but you can and honestly SHOULD outgrow people. I’m not saying turn your back on everyone from your past, but rather do an honest assessment of the level of joy, positivity, motivation and inspiration each person you spend a significant amount of time with is bringing to your life. Are they pulling you down or propelling you forward?
The reality is that every time you achieve a certain level of success, you will need to up level absolutely every aspect of your life including (and probably most importantly) those who you surround yourself with if you want to continue growing and evolving.