The most important decisions in your life involve choosing who you do it with. Your relationships are a better predictor for your future than your IQ, EQ, genetics, or current net worth. Therefore, it’s critical that you choose your companions wisely. It’s not just CEOs who need an advisory board – everybody needs a trustworthy and capable inner circle. Whether it be friends, business partners, employers, mentors, or a spouse, these decisions shape your destiny and could make or break you.
To build a powerful inner circle, you need to understand the 7 Relationships for Success. These are positions around you that you need to fill in order to go from stuck to unstoppable. If you choose well, these people will expand your potential and help you achieve your transformation goals.
Challenge #1: Find People Different Than You
Before diving into these positions, there are two specific challenges in evaluating anybody for your 7 Relationships for Success. The first is finding compatible people who are also different from you.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”– The Book of Proverbs
The people who experience the highest levels of success find people who are strong where they’re weak. Birds of a feather may flock together, but if you only surround yourself with people just like you, your personal growth will be very limited. For people who are naturally assertive and confident, this point is especially important. You need self-awareness to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses, and openness to other perspectives is important in appreciating people who are sharp where you’re dull. High D personalities and those with high conscientiousness are less likely to be reflective and open-minded, so if you feel like you fit this description, make sure you’re being honest with yourself about your limitations and growing in respect for those with different perspectives and personalities than you.
Challenge #2: Identify and Avoid Toxic People
The second challenge is staying away from toxic people. The sad truth is that you’re going to encounter people who will try to take advantage of you. Not everyone is reasonable, emotionally healthy, or trustworthy, and you shouldn’t consider anyone for any position in your 7 Relationships for Success who doesn’t display these qualities. This point is especially for people high in agreeableness and openness. These traits make you more likely to give away your time and resources. If this describes you, it’s vital that you create boundaries around who you serve how you serve them. You and your gifts are priceless, and you owe it to yourself and others to conserve your energy rather than spend it on destructive people.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great.”– Mark Twain
The 7 Relationships for Success
The crucial roles you have to fill to maximize your potential are:
- The Inner Voice
As we review each in detail below, keep in mind that one person can fill multiple roles in your life and that you can have more than one of each kind. The same person could even transition from one role to another as you progress (this is often a sign of healthy growth). The purpose of the 7 Relationships for Success isn’t to put anyone in a box. It’s to help you be intentional about your companions and fill the invisible positions around you that will accelerate you.
Guides are people who have lived through a wide variety of experiences. They’ve overcome many of the challenges you’re facing or will face on your journey and are significantly closer to wherever it is you’re looking to go. More than anything, guides offer wisdom and perspective. They help you zoom out from your circumstances so you can rise above them. Note that guides can be people you know or who you follow at a distance, such as authors or media sources. That said, make sure you have a guide in your life who gives you personal attention.
The difference between coaches and guides is that coaches are more for accountability. They are invested in your personal progress and hold you to your goals. Coaches can assist you in your journey on a broad scale or specialize in a specific Pillar of Life, such as finances or health. Coaches are sometimes not as far along in their journey as Guides, but they’re nevertheless experienced and tested in their own right. Mentors, pastors, advisory boards, therapists and parents are common forms of coaches.
Empowerers encourage you. These are optimistic people who will never fail to remind you of your best qualities and assure you that everything will be okay. They see the best in you and believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. Empowerers are essential for overcoming your negative beliefs about yourself and making it through those darkest moments that come just before dawn. While too much of anything is usually bad, these people are hard to come by. Make sure you have at least one close friend who fills this role for you in your 7 Relationships for Success.
Drivers challenge you to push past your limits. They’re competitive, direct, and black-and-white. Drivers don’t take “no” for an answer and believe that there is always room for improvement. They’re also the most likely to tell you what you don’t want to hear when you most need to hear it. While they’re not always right, it’s a mistake to dismiss drivers. Without them, most of us would quit before breaking through the barriers to true transformation. In choosing your driver, make sure that they’re respectful and willing to be challenged themselves. A driver who doesn’t fight just as hard as you to meet their own standards isn’t a driver at all – just a critic who should be avoided.
Educators are the most practical of the 7 Relationships for Success. They’re there to give you detailed feedback on your progress as you apply what you learn from your guides and coaches. This role may be less intimate than other roles because the educator’s job is focused on honing specific skills. For instance, they could be personal trainers or communication consultants. Regardless, these people are invaluable in identifying blind spots in whatever area or ability you want to master. It’s amazing how much faster you’ll progress with the actionable advice of educators.
Gatekeepers are the protective and intuitive people who watch your back. They’re good at identifying the people and situations that are toxic to you and will always seek to protect you. Gatekeepers aren’t necessarily confrontational people, but they’ll likely be alert and cautious by nature. Spouses can be great Gatekeepers, so if you’re not married, look for someone who will do this for you, particularly if you have a generous or empathetic personality. You can’t afford to bear the burdens of people who are only using you and draining you, and gatekeepers are crucial in helping you avoid this trap.
The Inner Voice
The most important voice in the 7 Relationships for Success is the one in your head.
In the end, how you talk to yourself can advance you to the next level or keep you from ever moving on. Your inner voice has a loud say in the 35,000 decisions you make every single day. It’s always with you, it never shuts up, and it’s always becoming more noble or more deceitful. If you’re honest and resolute in nurturing and challenging it, it could become your most powerful ally. Dismiss its development and it will be your greatest enemy. You feed your inner voice with who you listen to, what you read, what you focus on, and what you watch. The decisions you make also affect your thinking, so consider your choices carefully, particularly the ones you make when no one is watching.
Be Intentional and Take the Next Step
You are completely unique and here for a reason. Where you’re going you’ll need help, and the 7 Relationships for Success are crucial in getting you unstuck and advancing you to your destiny.
If you’d like to learn more about this principle and others that you’ll need to transform your life, you should consider Transform U Live, a 3-Day Live Immersive Conference that we designed to help accelerate you as quickly as possible.
At Transform U, you’ll get:
- The opportunity to find committed people for your 7 Relationships for Success.
- Secrets to maxing out your will power and unleashing your mind.
- Guidelines for creating lasting, deep relationships.
- And much, much more!