Who do you hang around with?

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people”
~Will Rogers

I found another interesting tidbit from Tom Peters, and wanted to share it with you.  His message is that you become the same as those with whom you associate.  In other words if you want to be innovative and successful, you should seek out innovative and successful people and hang out with them.

This is great advice!  If you regularly interact with people that are already successful in the same way you would like to be, then you give yourself a huge boost in the right direction.  By association, you will start talking the same, dressing the same, and acting the same.  This means you will start developing habits that are the same or very similar to those that are already as successful as you would like to become.

On the flip side, you will also get an insider look at what their world is like before you are fully committed to it.  This means that once you experience their world, if you don’t like what needs to be done, or don’t like the people, you can see that and change direction before you have actually put a tremendous amount of effort into it.

Either way, it is a huge learning experience for you.

Another blog from Fastcompany, noted that when creating your own brand, “the devil is in the details.”  The post states that building your brand is more than just looking and acting the part.  Your brand tells a story and you need to make certain that all of the details help tell the same story.  The post also gives a few examples of the details that business owners may get wrong.

To me, the combined message of both of these blog posts is that we should spend time figuring out what we want our personal brand to be.  Write it down and “mess with it” until we get sounding and feeling the way we want it to be. Once we have the brand or the story we want to tell, go find successful people that have the same or similar brands and hang around them.  Study their habits.  Absorb their culture and become part of it.  As Tom notes, “You are who you hang around!”

What do you think?

Call to action:

  1. Can you write down your personal brand?  If not, this would be a great exercise.  Write down the image you want to present to others, the story you want to tell.  Play with it. Try changing it.  Work on it, until you feel  you have it right.  If you’d like, post it here.  Then live it, including the details.  (Please Note: Your written “brand description” doesn’t have to be perfect.  In fact, it probably will evolve over time.  The point of polishing isn’t perfection, rather it is to ensure that the details you have are all telling the same story.  For an example I’ll post mine in the next week or two).
  2. Find successful people that share your brand (or approximate it).  Ask at least one of them if they will be a mentor for you.  I have asked many people to help mentor me, and only one of them has every turned me down–and that was due to time constraints.  Most are honored to be asked.
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