Your circle of influence is your compass in life. You use people around you to be your guides and references points to where you want to be in life, just like sailors would use the stars in old times to navigate their way across the seas to where they wanted to go.

Your circle is your guide, but you’re the captain of your own ship. And it’s your actions that steer it. When you take action, the universe aligns with you and helps you get to where you want to go. And the more action you take, the easier it is to keep taking action and moving forward.

Conversely, the longer you go between the times you are taking action, the more inertia you have to overcome and the harder it is to move again. This is a law of physics: “objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest.”

Like a boat in the ocean, there’s no such thing as being still. You’re always either moving closer to your goal or farther away from it. And you can tell whether you’re moving forward or not by who you associate with: your mentors, coaches, and who you surround yourself with. Are they helping you get closer to where you want to be?

Mistakes can be mentors. So can books. And of course, your circle of influence has mentors in it. Everywhere you learn something can be a mentor to you. And as entrepreneurs looking to become more successful, we want to have mentors in business who are where we want to be. Make sure your circle of influence isn’t born out of comfort. The people in it that are related to business must be people that challenge you to grow. If you want to be comfortable you won’t be challenged, and you won’t grow.

The way you approach your relationships matter, too. Every good relationship involves give and take, and this includes mentor relationships. If you always come to your mentors in life with your hand out, it won’t be the same as if you reach out from a place of dignity and power. Realize that you also have something to offer your mentor as well; we can all teach things to each other. As Justin Woolf likes to say, “I can learn something from everybody.” And if you always show up to your mentor needy, with your hand out, it won’t be as valuable to you as a relationship. You won’t get as much out of it as you could have if you’re offering something back.

Nothing turns off a mentor more than somebody who’s needy. Gratitude is the antithesis of needy, and gratitude is the universal language of abundance. Needy pushes everyone away.

We are programmed to be in survival mode. We all act based on need. We work hard until we get comfortable; with our survival assured, we take our foot off the gas. It’s a natural part of the human condition. But what we have to recognize is that all those kinds of natural actions do is maintain the status quo and are “just enough to get by”. And that’s never going to get us to our ultimate goals in life.

All abundance comes from acting beyond your needs. All the great abundance of life – money, love, etc. – comes from acting beyond what’s needed and going for what you are truly capable of.

Want to have more abundance, instead of just getting by? Figure out ways to give to people where you don’t expect to get anything in return. Write down 10 things you can give to others without any expectation of something back from them. It could be an email, call, some act or deed, etc. to pick someone up and make them feel better, or just to let them know you appreciate them. If you make those things come from a place of gratitude, you’ll be able to see how great you feel about yourself after you do them.

Doing something that has a positive effect on your mood has any number of benefits for us as entrepreneurs. Happy people are always more productive. And we can do things every day that will have an impact on our income and quality of life in the near future. Remember, the money you receive is just a byproduct of the value you deliver.

The way you earn something is to contribute something else first. The people in your life that you want something from are the people you should find ways to give something to first. If you give something to someone that is more value than what they give back to you for it, you’ll receive the difference in value back later. The universe always pays you back!

Think of how you can give and who you can give to. And think of your circle of influence first when you do that. If you’re looking to improve any aspect of your business or personal life, look at how generous you are in that area and look for ways to give more. That’s the way you’ll improve it.


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The Philosopher

January 26, 2010 | 32

It was a heavy and wet morning when the trees let out quiet sighs, aching from the fresh weight of the evening’s frost. A man sat in his study watching exhausted leaves tremble and fall, spilling light with each pirouette. It was a morning not unlike any other for this man. He rose at seven, as was his custom.

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