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You are your inner circle: Why you need to surround yourself with dream-makers and kick out the dream-takers


Who you surround yourself with – both at work and away from work – is very important.

The journey to business success can be long and winding, and the people in your inner circle need to be supporting you along the way.

You must surround yourself with those that support you – ie dream-makers, not dream-takers.

We all know who the dream-takers are. They are often people who are not happy with their own circumstances, so they’re not going to be supportive of anybody else trying to reach their goals.

Dream-takers will continually tell you you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, small business is too risky or that the whole thing is just plain stupid. Why would you hang around with such people?

You need to surround yourself with dream-makers

Dream-makers are people who will cheer you on from the sidelines, who understand what you are trying to do and have faith that you can achieve this.

We all get energy from the people around us; if that energy is negative it can get in the way of your dreams, but having positive and supportive people around you will help carry you to your goals.

Dream-makers will encourage you, support you, teach you and allow you to push your boundaries.

It is also imperative that you strategically surround yourself with the right people at work.

I have a list of business associates that I study regularly to see how they could help me grow my business. Maybe it’s somebody I could start a partnership with, or a client showing great potential for long-term growth.

Every month I sit down with this list and identify and rank the 10 people who can provide positive influence in helping me to grow my business that month.

Most months, two or three names on the list change or move up or down, and there are a few names that have been on the list for a long time.

This is a great habit for you to get into. You won’t achieve success by yourself. So, why not strategically identify who you should be spending time with? Clearly identify the value these people provide to you and the outcomes they can help you with.

How could you build a partnership with them? Who do they know who can help your business? What skills or knowledge do they have that you need? If you’re not sure about something, ask them!

Don’t be shy. Turn it into a system. Like everything in your business, your approach to this needs to be systematic and quantifiable.

Don’t be selfish with your support

Here’s the key to the success of this strategy; you have to help others in return. People will notice very quickly if you’re trying to exploit them for your own gain. That’s not the way to a profitable business, and it’s also simply not a very nice thing to do.

If you have an abundance mindset you’ll know that there’s plenty of success to go around.

If you get out there and find people who can help you in your business and you do the same in return, everybody wins. I’ve found over my many years of business that just about everybody is happy to help if I’m willing to return the favour when the time comes.

So, at the start of each month, ask yourself these two big questions:

  • Who are the 10 most influential people in your life and how can they help you?
  • Who are the 10 most recent influential people you have helped and how have they helped you?

To help you meet more people who might be able to help your business it’s vital that you take advantage of all business networking opportunities. You never know who you might meet and how they might be able to help.

An example from my own life

This is one of the reasons I started Board of Directors 12. We get together every fortnight. It’s a great chance for everybody to receive support and encouragement and share skills and knowledge, and many of my clients make fantastic, mutually beneficial long-term connections.

My grandfather used to say to me, “Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you with accuracy who you are.” He was a smart man.

Having such people in your life will also help to keep you accountable, and this is very important. Regular meetings mean regular chances to update them on your progress which can be a great cure for procrastination.

And it’s fine to pay somebody to help hold you accountable, such as a business coach. In fact, this can be a great motivator. I know people pay extra attention to things that I tell them when they are paying for the advice; free advice is much easier to ignore.

Keep all of this in mind when you meet somebody new. Building a ‘circle of influence’ has to be based on trust, authenticity and being genuine. Success leaves clues. Find out who you should be associating with and then make it happen with integrity first.

Stefan Kazakis is business strategist, presenter and founder of Business Benchmark Group, which helps clients from a variety of crossroads and industries seize opportunities to achieve ongoing business success and substantial profit growth.