By Jon Michail

You may have heard the old phrase – ‘No man is an island’.  That’s because people cannot thrive in isolation. We need others to help us grow and evolve, to learn from and to pass our knowledge to. In order for us to reach our full potential, we need encouragement from supporters, wisdom from mentors and teachers, and competition from our peers to spur us on.

Does this mean that we should be surrounded by crowds of people wherever we go? No, it means we need to pick and choose our circles selectively and spend time with good people who can help us achieve our goals. This may sound rather cynical and self-serving, but it’s really all about being inspired and motivated by people we know and trust, who are interested in the same things we are.

Another phrase you may have heard is that ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. If your goal is to achieve great things in your business, or career you should be asking for help and guidance from the high-achievers, making yourself known to upper management, making friends with those who are on their way up, and reaching out to those in related fields.

Networks matter.

By surrounding yourself with those who are doing well, you will be forced to do well by association. Conversely, if you spend your time amongst people with little or no ambition, you may find your own ambitions drifting off into space as well. Think of friends growing up, sometimes you need to let go of the past to discover the new.

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’

Relationships aren’t a one-sided thing. As you are learning and evolving through others, so others are learning and evolving through you. As you reach new heights in your career, it’s important to pass down the wisdom you have learned, and not jealously hoard information.

Generously helping others to reach their potential is a characteristic that distinguishes a great leader. And remember, if the team you are guiding is thriving, you’ll be the one getting the credit for being a great boss. Stifle your team, prevent natural growth and watch the blame fall directly on you.

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As you ascend the ladder of success, don’t forget those who helped you climb! Remember – nobody likes a show-off especially in our Aussie culture, but everyone appreciates a humble spirit and credit that is due. It doesn’t take much to be kind to those on the lower rungs – don’t be cocky, after all you might be seeing them sooner than you think if you topple off.

Our relationships with others have a significant impact on our lives. The interactions we make can influence our goals, our dreams and our chosen path. So ensure that the people you are surrounded with are part of your plan and not just there by default.

As I noted earlier we all have those friends or acquaintances whom we don’t always like, who perhaps bring us down and drain our energy, but we stick with them because we’ve known them for a long time or perhaps we feel obligated in some way.

Remember, you don’t have to spend your precious time with anyone you don’t want to. So choose wisely, life is too short to waste it with people that have no appreciation of your personal value – make the wise decision now to mix with the best and you’ll achieve your goals faster than if you try and do it alone.


Jon Michail and his team at Image Group International partners with their clients to achieve breakthrough results with contrarian and disruptive ways to grow and monetise their personal and business brands. A veteran coach with a Who’s Who clientele, Jon is the CEO and Founder of Image Group International, an Australian-based corporate and personal brand image advisory and coaching organisation that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents. He is recognised as Australasia’s No. 1 Image Coach.