The Key to Business Growth: Surround Yourself with People Who Will Push You photo

The Key to Business Growth: Surround Yourself with People Who Will Push You

When thinking about how to develop our business, most of us tend to focus on projects, courses, and certifications. We overlook one very key piece of the learning puzzle:  proactively surrounding ourselves with people who will push us to succeed in unexpected ways and, in so doing, build genuinely rich, purposeful lives of growth, excellence, and impact.

We typically spend at least two decades in our formal education and, in developed countries, hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, few of us engage in a deliberate, determined search for those wise individuals who, through their inspiration and advice, can literally make us new.

How can you find this group? The following guidelines should help:

Think about the people who inspire you.  These can be teachers of certain disciplines; inventors; entrepreneurs; business, social, or public leaders.  I have always been moved and inspired by specific people, not just abstract professions.  I “met” them originally in many cases by reading their work or about them, but also via social media and at conferences.

Don’t be afraid to chase.  Conferences are a great place to get inspired, approach, and start a relationship with some of the people you’ve identified.  Other cases may require a much more determined investment. But think how little time commitment it is compared to what we invest in our education, or to the opportunity cost and frustration of a poor career choice or wrong job decision.

Aim for a mix of people inside and outside your industry.  External contacts can potentially have the benefit of greater independence, a broader perspective with radically new horizons, as well as potential connections across both worlds which will benefit everyone.

Be candid about the reason for your interest.  Most truly great people live their lives with genuine passion and want to expand their missions.  Most times, they will be delighted to both inspire you and help you see how to close the gap between dream and reality.

Ask them specifically about how to get started.  Some invaluable advice about what I had to do: You need three Cs:  capability, which you have; connectivity, which at least initially you can do through the global network of social media; and credibility, which you don’t have yet. 

Have crucial conversations in the right settings.  Meeting face-to-face with no distractions will help you reach a level of intimacy which simply can’t achieve remotely. 

Don’t hesitate to ask the truly big questions. What shall I do with my life?  What really motivates me?  What am I doing that I really don’t like to do?  While pondering these questions, in addition to checking my capability, connectivity and credibility, I also engage my friends in conversation about three other Cs:  contemplation (Am I in touch with my inner compass?), compassion (Do I show it for myself and others?), and companions (Who else might inspire me to new growth?)

Proactively seeking out and cultivating those who will help us become better versions of ourselves is, by a wide margin, the key for living a truly happy and meaningful life.

Adapted HBR Sept 2018 Fernandez-Araoz


To learn more about Inspired Trades and the work we do, please don’t hesitate to go to our website and download our FREE ebook “10 Steps to a Million Dollar Trades Business”