I firmly believe we only achieve our best when we have people around us who help us become better.  Sometimes that means these people need to give us information that we don’t want to hear.  Yet, it is just what we need.

I heard a speaker last week – Dr. John C. Maxwell – who summed up my experiences about this topic as he talked about the inner circle leaders need to succeed.  He went through several points of what it meant to have this inner circle lift instead of  only lean on you.  His examples were very good about surrounding yourself with the right people.  And part of having the right people is making sure that they are people who will tell you the truth.

I’ve been mulling over Dr. Maxwell’s lift vs. lean idea for days now and yesterday was reminded how important this is.  I’m in the process of finalizing a very short video to explain our exciting new launch next month.  The video process has been painful to say the least and I thought I was finally done.  Many who looked at it said it was just right…but I knew that something was off.

circle of handsNever one to take the easy road, I decided to send it to someone who would give me the hard truth.  She reviewed the video…and gave all the positives everyone else did, but she took a step further  to point out an observation that brought my concern to the front.  It’s not what I wanted to hear, but it’s just WHAT I needed to hear.  The end result will be better for her honest feedback.

Of course I am not thrilled about going back to the drawing board, but I will…the outcome is that important!  You see, lifting someone doesn’t mean just agreeing with them or only pointing out the positive.  We can’t get better without hard truths or reflective questions.

I have a strong personality, and some people shy away from telling me those hard truths…yet those are the people I respect the most.

A couple of tough questions for you today:

  1. Who do you have in your inner circle that will tell you the hard truth?
  2. Do you surround yourself with  “yes” people?
  3. What does lifting mean to you?  Is it superficial or meaningful?
  4.  How do you lift those closest to you – at work and home?

I heard a statement years ago that puts this all in perspective….”You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Are you spending time with people that will help raise your “average?”

In sales, there are a lot of opportunities to turn negative, to make excuses and blame others – but the most successful pros don’t let their energy get zapped in those directions.   It does mean we need to carefully choose those to spend time with.

We can choose to spend time with those that are lifters and not leaners.  Can’t find them at work?   Then turn to some of the social media or networking groups in your area to find professional, forward thinking and positive people .

The energy you gain from the time you spend with the right inner circle will help lift you to higher levels!

Click for a great article about the Inner Circle by Dr. John C Maxwell.