Over the last few years, I have joined two very exclusive networking groups for entrepreneurs. I had to do this for my personal sanity as I found many of the people who currently existed in my sphere at the time, did not share the same mindset possessed or lifestyle that I wanted to acquire at the time. I started seeking out groups to help on my entrepreneurial journey. The unfortunate reality for many entrepreneurs is once you start growing and scaling your business, there are no groups that cater to the growing entrepreneur until you get to seven figures. Like many of you, I had to stumble my way through until I was able to join those elite groups. The primary lessons I learned once I did join those prestigious communities were a highly valuable component to ensuring my emotional well-being as a leader.
A concept that became a very important part of my day-to-day was when I discovered the importance of scaling my network. I cannot stress the importance of growing and scaling entrepreneurs how vital it is to ensure you have a great support system of people in place. If you don’t have a great support system in place you can succumb to giving space to people who unfortunately cannot fill the space which will leave you vulnerable and leave you open potentially for emotional violence. I have heard too many horror stories from entrepreneurs who have attempted to fill the spaces with people who partake in tasteless effrontery.
I would like to ensure you don’t attempt to fill your exciting entrepreneurial walk with the wrong people. Here are the key lessons I’ve learned to ensure your mind, soul and health are preserved daily to keep your wealth intact while building your legacy.
ALIGN WITH THE RIGHT NETWORK. It’s really important that you join a network that aligns you not just with other entrepreneurs but with entrepreneurs that possess an abundant mindset at the pace and value bracket for where you are currently. Your friends and family will not understand your daily trials and triumphs as an entrepreneur, even if they are compassionate and supportive of your journey. You need positive reassurance to the wins no matter how big or small. You need uplifting support on the days you feel like throwing in the towel to ensure you don’t fall off track with your goals. You cannot just join a group without doing the utmost diligence upfront. Be highly discerning prior to joining by asking questions regarding the group’s initiatives, structure, how each member supports each other? How frequently do they meet? What’s the annual time and investment obligations? Do they provide the opportunity to visit the community first prior to joining to reassure it is the right fit for you and them? These questions are important to align with a network that can potentially be the make or break of your business success story.
ACCESS, RESOURCE, TIME & VALUE. I cannot stress this point enough. Don’t make yourself to accessible to people who don’t offer the same value in time, commitment and resource. Basically, only associate with people that can offer you value and allow you the ability to give value. This means if they want access to your time, they must offer intellectual, emotional, psychological and mental value. I’ve met many wealthy people over the years that have shared outrightly they will only sit down with people who are worth their time. I don’t care what financial bracket they are in; everyone I sit down with must offer value. I, along with many entrepreneurs I have known earlier on have sat down with people who have just wanted to take from us and offer no reciprocal value. Some people with a higher level of scarcity variance will state, “well, isn’t that just about giving?” I have discovered life and time are very cyclical. It reminds me of a never-ending well. The water portion just pours back into the very source the portion came from. When you engage someone, who takes but does not give back to the well, it leaves a depletion. People who are resourceful are restoratively abundant. People who take operate in depletion which is a high form of scarcity. Scarcity depletions effect your emotional well-being and eventually can affect your pocket too.
Another important part of growing your network are the types of people. I know entrepreneurs who still have childhood friendships. I am not saying you need to give up these friendships. What I am saying is how much value do the people who already exist in our lives contribute to our overall success. One real reality many entrepreneurs know is once they embark on the journey of entrepreneurship friends and family members are usually miles apart in mindset and support. What I discovered is even if I love my friend who is working a 9-5, they have a completely different outlook on life entirely. It’s not better or worse. It’s just very different. The frustrations of engaging or keeping people like this in your circle can lead to cyclical debates. These debates are not edifying and from experience, they don’t produce anything fruitful. These dynamics usually end up leaving someone becoming reactionary and you becoming emotionally depleted due to frustrations with their perspective limitations. It can place you in compromised circumstances with people which creates awkwardness in social settings. People can only speak from the place where they are now and that their life has given them the ability to see. They can only see from their position on the mountain not your position on the mountain. Keep in mind most people never leave basecamp.
DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE WHO TRY TO KEEP YOU AS ORDINARY or KEEP YOU ANCHORED TO YOUR PAST. Some of you have big dreams. If you are a big dreamer like me, you probably can’t share your dreams with all people. Be mindful in selecting those people you allow close. This is why networking groups with people in the same value bracket and mindset are vitally important. They will reinforce cheering you on and uplift you on the days you need encouragement. For example, I had a life-long friend who I hadn’t been in contact with for almost 10 years. They wanted to get together for coffee. I told them they’ll have to contact my assistant as I don’t schedule my day to day meetings for business or personal. They were shocked and became frustrated as they wanted things to remain the same as when we were kids. IT CANNOT. I am not the same person anymore nor are they. This is a prime example of why you must use your gatekeepers to screen people who could be potentially toxic regardless of how you knew the person in the past. Most people from your past are not behaving with the intention to be undermining, they may not know the protocol, but some people behave this way due to entitlement. They believe they are deserving of your time and want accessibility based on your influence. I will follow up in another article to discuss how to define your network and friendship relationships.
DECORUM IS KEY. Some people may ask “what is decorum?” Well, if you don’t know what decorum is, that is a concern within itself but truly it’s a diplomatic way of saying manners. As Liberalism, has gone so far left it has eroded into the land of lawlessness. A downright lack of propriety seems to be trending everywhere. A few years ago, I had an unpleasant encounter with someone just after our second meeting. I went out for a quick brunch which they intentionally and without asking took food off my plate with their fork. Needless to say, I was appalled. Tasteless. Tasteless. Tasteless. I have the uncanny ability to make people feel really loved and comfortable. However, I learned from this experience when you give people too much accessibility, they think that you are friends. WE ARE NOT friends. I love people. But I don’t love someone eating off my plate. It is uncouth. But here’s the kicker. People’s socialization affects their emotional intelligence, awareness, application of that awareness to which are keys to having proper manners. People can only be what they have been able to see. As my motto goes, if someone cannot see better, they cannot conceive better nor perceive better. Therefore, they cannot “BE” or “DO” better to enhance their world.
THE DANGER OF THE UNDERMINING SPIRIT. This one is simple. Please do not hesitate to enforce your power to severe this relationship immediately. Remove all people who possess an undermining spirit. What is an undermining spirit? Well, it’s another form of classless behaviour usually carried out by emotional vampires. But emotional vampires can turn into emotional murderers if you keep them in your space too long. These people take being an emotional vampire to another level. An emotional murderer in an entrepreneurial space is a person who attempts to pry on an entrepreneur’s brilliance for the sole purpose of being obsessed with proximity to influence, relevancy and wealth. They define who they are in proximity to those three components. What they are seeking is who, what, where, when, why and how they can benefit with aligning with a successful entrepreneur for the sole purpose of using you. Also, the process of emotional murderers is not quick. It is a slow process of torcher; sucking every ounce of water out of your emotional well. Also, when they can’t get anything from you, they will berate and defame you privately and publicly. Some of the warning signs are sizing up the successful entrepreneur by giving pushback on topics they are not knowledgeable on or have a limited perspective fuelled by insinuation, to see if the entrepreneur will posture back. If that tactic doesn’t work due to the entrepreneur holding firm boundaries. The next pernicious tactic will be is to start looking for chinks in your armour. The only way the second tactic works is by the successful entrepreneur lower the boundaries from being seduced by this sociopath’s manipulative charming wits. The tactics of chinks in the armour are dangerous as the emotional murderer will attempt to pick away pervasively at the successful entrepreneur’s humanity. Since emotional murderers have already placed the successful entrepreneur on a pedestal in their minds, the moment the entrepreneur shows humanity they will be swift to call them out on any little side step made for the sole purpose in their demented belief to gain leverage over the entrepreneur’s vulnerability. HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THESE PEOPLE. Just like the southern Baptist born-again Christian would say when casting out a demon of Satan, “rebuke them in the name of Jesus and bind them to the pits of hell.” Do not play with these devils. If you keep them around, they it will affect your self-confidence. While, you heal you will discover, it is a waste of your energy, time and wealth.