While hard work and dedication win short-term physical improvements, surrounding yourself with the right people will ensure a winning life.

The people you surround yourself with dictate your mindset. That’s an undeniable fact. So if your intention is to live a successful, fulfilling life, you need to make sure the people around you are driven, positive, goal-oriented and slightly better than you in certain areas. We all have heard the phrase you end up becoming the average of the five people you spend the most time around; that one is real! This is why it’s crucial for you to continuously audit your influences so you can protect the energy you allow into your personal space and mind. Winners surround themselves with other winners, so make sure the people in your circle possess the following traits and values . . .

Change Starts With You

Often you don’t have a choice who you spend time with, such as a work environment, so what’s the best course of action if someone’s outlook or attitude is less than ideal? The answer for me is pretty straightforward; I’m going to take personal responsibility over their development and help them become better. There’s a huge difference between those who don’t know and those who don’t care, but from my experience with the proper support and coaching, people can change. There’s a huge opportunity in this respect because when you coach someone up it helps you both improve yourselves. Success and hardship both create a strong connection and sense of loyalty between people. While it may not be easy, when you take on the challenge of showing people the path forward, regardless if it is your responsibility or not, that good energy will come back around and benefit the person, your team, organization, the mission and you personally, both in and out of the work place. Imagine if you have five people in a canoe and the mission is to get to the other side of the river with all 5 people, no exceptions. You’d all get there a hell of a lot faster if all five are working together with an evenly distributed load, instead of two exhausting themselves while the others do nothing. When everyone focuses on their area of expertise or area they can contribute to and make the most impact, the whole team wins. There will always be weaker links in the chain, but when you spend the time helping the ones who have a need, that chain will continue to get stronger.

Choose Wisely

The most valuable quality someone can possess in life is being a problem solver. In every aspect. Having someone on your team who takes responsibility over problems as well as the solutions to those problems, regardless if it was “their fault” is a trademark quality of a winner on the fast track to success. This could be something as simple as picking up a piece of trash on the ground that wasn’t theirs or cleaning up a workspace of another coworker or department because it needed to be done, not because they were required to. Small actions of initiative and demonstrating the pride one takes in themselves shines a bright light on this valuable character trait you should learn to identify. Showing an ability to take initiative in any area at anytime, will benefit everyone, every day because being able to pinpoint solutions to problems is a mental trait that truly separates winners from losers. Some of you may not like how that sounds, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. At the core of it, life is a complex series of ongoing obstacles inhibiting your ability to achieve your goals. Having a problem-solving mentality and success mindset means problems are always viewed as valuable opportunities. Problem solvers are willing to take proactive steps that are likely to bring up everyone around them along the way. Nobody is born with a problem-solving mentality, it’s something that is cultivated and developed. To do this, people need to be held accountable, which is why at my company, Nutrition Solutions we have a 200% accountability process in place where each department not only monitors the operational checklist of their own team, but that of the other departments as well. Leaders holding other leaders accountable to the high standards we’ve set. Problem solvers don’t act the way they do because they want to be rewarded, they do it because they want to win. The success that invariably comes with maintaining this outlook is simply an added bonus.

Key Traits

You should always strive to be the best human you can be. Having good people around you means you need to look inward to understand how that contributes to your overall growth, development and success. Step one involves always looking after your friends in such a way that if they ever need anything at any time, you’ll do it for them. If they need help at 2am because they’ve gotten themselves in a sticky situation, be the guy who they’ll call because they know you’ll answer and be there for them. Also, one of the best if not the best things you can do to show someone you truly care about them, is to call them out when you see them screwing up or doing something they shouldn’t be.

Whether they’ve started to get fat due to complacency or you’ve noticed them being inconsistent with some of the actions they’ve committed to in order to fulfil a personal goal, don’t be nice about it, don’t tap dance around the issue…call them out directly and in such a way where they don’t feel very good about it. That’s the only way it will be impactful and resonate. True friends don’t worry about hurt feelings, they concern themselves only with seeing each other get better. Having an honest friend who’s willing to invest their time and energy to hold you to the highest standard is one of the most valuable gifts of this life. You may not want to hear it or like it, but they’re telling you because they care about you and you owe it to them to pay it forward by getting yourself back on track. They don’t want you to be off track since they expect better from you. If you want to show someone you care, be willing to have those uncomfortable conversations and be brave enough to hold them liable because then they will reciprocate, creating a dynamic that’ll move you both towards continued success in all areas of your life.

Welcome Feedback!

When you have someone who gives you honest feedback or calls you out for something they believe you not to be doing to your full potential, you may initially experience resentment, hostility and malevolence. You feel this way because deep down some part of your subconscious agrees with what they’re saying, but our fragile egos find it easier to get upset rather than be honest with ourselves. Rather than feel this way, be grateful and take comfort that people care enough about you to want to take the time to help, regardless of how direct they were. This is what a growth mindset is all about and why it’s so important to surround yourself with people who force your level up.

That said, there will be people, most likely your friends who you’ve known the longest and family, who aren’t going to understand the steps you’re taking to improve your quality of life. Instead of supporting you, they will tear you down behind your back or make passive aggressive comments to discourage you from your goals and the positive changes you’re making. Although unfortunate, this is super normal. When you see this is happening, take immediate action and exile them from your island permanently, or until they’ve earned a spot back on it by changing the way they think.

You only have so much energy and need to optimize your life for success in all areas. It sucks that this happens, but you can keep them around and literally sabotage your own success, or cut them out of your life so you can do what you’re supposed to do and create an amazing life for yourself. When you start experiencing success and prosperity, it can make some uncomfortable and resentful. In their weak, insecure minds they feel your actions and results put a spotlight on the fact that they’re not improving. Don’t dwell on it or spend energy trying to convince them to understand what you’re doing, because they will only be able to comprehend in their current level of thinking. The only way to possibly change their outlook and position is by staying true to your purpose, goals and mission. Hopefully, one day the results you’ve achieved from the work you’ve put in may inspire them to start making some positive changes of their own.