Everyone is always looking for the “formula” for success. Some ingredients have been restated over and over again. Yes, you need to work hard – the ability to persevere and push through obstacles is as difficult as it is essential to being successful in any endeavor. However, people tend to undervalue one of the most important ingredients to success: the people you surround yourself with.
It’s not always obvious that you need to choose the right people who will help you grow and eventually guide you to success. Furthermore, we don’t often like to attribute our triumphs to other people. After all, if you did something great, you want to own it. However, rarely have there been successful CEOs, politicians, lawyers or performers who did it by themselves.
For me, surrounding myself with the “right” people is two-fold.
First, you need to be with people who have grit.
Anyone can say that they’re going to achieve something, but sometimes when the going gets tough, people can fall flat. The difference between those who keep going and those who quit is grit. I believe grit is one of the most essential components of success. Without it, all we have are ideas that stay ideas and talent that remains untapped.
Perhaps more important than possessing it yourself, is having a gritty network around you. Whether it’s a business endeavor or a relay race, we feed off of others’ attitudes in challenging situations. That’s why when things get difficult, you need people around you that persist and remember what the collective goal is. People with grit don’t just work hard – they finish the race when they’re last. They learn from their failures and acknowledge the importance of persistence. Those are the people you want in your corner. Those are the people who will follow through despite the hurdles.
If you believe you don’t naturally have grit, put yourself in an environment filled with those that do. Inevitably, you will feed off of your peers’ energy and keep moving towards your ultimate goal, whatever it may be.
Surround yourself with people who think differently than you do
This piece can be difficult. In life, we tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us. Think about your group of friends: you probably share similar interests and float in similar social circles. Having relationships with like-minded people isn’t a bad thing, but it can inhibit your growth personally and professionally.
If you’ve ever gotten into an argument, you know it’s not easy to communicate with people who are wired differently than you. Although it’s not always pleasant or comfortable, absorbing and engaging in different pools of thought allows you to practice creativity. Creativity takes work – just as you would lift weights to strengthen your biceps, you need to exercise your creative muscles. In doing this, you expand your mind, solve problems and innovate in ways that you would not have in the past.
I am a good example of this myself. Prior to founding daily newsletter Morning Brew, I had no experience in marketing, I had never sold anything in my life and put simply, I was a sh*tty writer. I knew I needed to find people who could lead Morning Brew to success. Fast forward two years, and I have worked with incredible writers and smart businesspeople who have taught me so many different skills. Through my interactions with these people, I have learned the arts of selling and storytelling. I have learned how to create engaging content. I have learned how to capture an audience’s attention. I’m a better writer now, but I’m not the best. That’s why I am lucky to have so many wonderful talents on the Morning Brew team from whom I learn every day.
The people around you can shape your attitude and your path to success. Surrounding yourself with the right people is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned thus far in my life and it truly is a key to success.