Perhaps you’ve heard it said before: You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
In 8th grade I made the case to my parents that I wanted to go to St. Ursula Catholic Academy and Convent for high school.
My dad thought I was crazy.
My mom was rightfully concerned about the tuition.
I just saw the opportunity to grow.
The school attracted the top academic students from grade schools across the city of Cincinnati where I grew up.
I didn’t just make a case to go there. I begged and pleaded with my parents to allow me to enroll.
By the numbers the decision didn’t add up. The tuition was more expensive (which I knew was a stretch for my parents.) The travel to school was longer. There were no boys. Others in my class weren’t attending.
What I’d realized early was that I could be at the top of my class at the ‘feeder’ school, or I could put myself in a group where I would be challenged and not be the best or brightest in the room.
I opted for the challenge. Fortunately, my parents supported me.
Putting myself in the company of those who would not allow me to settle for being less than my best beckoned me to show up, dig deep, take leaps, and fly in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Today when I decide whether or not to join a group, I want to know not only that I can contribute but that
- I will be challenged to ask more of myself than I would on my own.
- Those in the group will not accept me settling for less than the best version of me.
If these two points are true, the group is for me.
If you’re wondering how you can put yourself in more growth-minded company, here are a few approaches to increase the average of your five.
- “The Ask Up Approach” -Set up a meeting and ask for the guidance of someone you think is beyond you in talent, skill or success. Ask them to lunch. (Everyone has to eat). Ask them for ten minutes of their time. (It will likely turn into more.) Buy an airplane seat next to them the next time they travel! (Yes, it’s been done.)
- “The Group Approach” – Join a mastermind group. If you think you can’t find one, create one. How? Simply ask 5-6 people you admire to meet once monthly. Your outline to conduct a mastermind meeting can be found here.
- “The Coach Approach”– Meet regularly with a mentor or hire a strong coach. (For a coach with a proven track record of moving others to their personal and professional greatness, you can apply here. There are two spots available to work with me in June!)
- “The ‘Yes’ Approach” – Say “yes” to an invitation you’ve been considering. You won’t ever be certain it’s ‘right’ for you until you try.
There have been times since that ripe age of fourteen that I haven’t used these approaches for fear I will fail, look foolish, or be disappointed.
But what I’ve learned since then is…
The pain of not knowing what you are capable of is far greater than the pain of growing…
Not playing full out is the ultimate unrest…
And by putting yourself with those who stretch you, you’ll always grow more quickly and with less pain than going it alone.
We aren’t meant to do it alone. So this Sunday I begin a 14-day Boot Camp with instructors who I know will push me beyond what I will ask of myself.
Am I scared? Hell, yes.
Afraid of getting hurt? Absolutely!
Thinking I’m out of my league? For certain!
Dreading pain? You betcha!
“Then why?” you ask.
I knew that in two weeks if I didn’t show up it would be more painful for me to not know what could have been, than any physical pain (interpret growing) that I endure in the class.
We change when it is more painful not to.
Put yourself in the company of those who won’t settle for anything less than your best. By doing so, you’ll guarantee you get a taste of your greatness!