You Are What You Eat . . . and Other Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Like Josh Mullineaux, I was bombarded with messages as a kid, cautioning me to think about my actions:  “You are what you eat.”  (I’m chocolate cake?) “Birds of a feather flock together.” and “If everyone else were going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?”  But it’s only recently that I started to realize just how deeply applicable that is to business.  As Josh points out in his post, you are who you hang around.

When I joined my SEC Roughriders Toastmasters chapter years ago, I didn’t choose it because I felt warm and fuzzy and comfortable.  I chose the chapter because I wanted to become an exceptional speaker, and this one had a high concentration of excellent speakers.  The bar was set high — way over my head — but I viewed it like “tough love.”  I needed to learn from the best.  Nine years later, I’m one of the speakers that the club looks to to set the bar high.

Similarly, I’ve had to take a good hard look at the networking groups I belong to and the team I have created for myself.  Am I in the company of prosperous, successful business owners?  Or am I hanging around with people who are whiny and broke and scared and suck my energy without giving back in return?  I’m working on strengthening my relationships with the former and letting go of the relationships with the latter.

What messages are you internalizing from the people around you?  Are you working with business partners who are committed to both the business’s growth and their personal growth?  Are your alliance partners running their own business smoothly?  Do you work with people who show you respect?  Do you work with people you can learn from and who can make a meaningful contribution to your success (just as you would to theirs)?  Do you like where you are and who you see?  If not, it’s never too late to make a change!

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