The company you keep can make all the difference

by Lisa Rothstein on 02/06/2012

Want the fastest way to better  yourself or get back on track? Hang out with a better class of people.

No, I’m not talking about turning into a snob…not really. But I’ve discovered my tribe has a bigger effect on me than I think.

Associate with people who are likely to improve you.
— Seneca

I’m on my way to an event in Salt Lake City that I am sponsoring with coach David Neagle as a coach  & copywriter for entrepreneurs. It’s going to be three days with 300 creative entrepreneurs (current and future) looking to improve their lives and express themselves and prosper in their own businesses. I’m looking forward to swimming in that ocean of ideas and positive expectation, and of making the “right” kind of friends whom I can support and vice versa.

I also belong to a mastermind of kickass female entrepreneurs. We meet several times a month, in person or virtually, to celebrate each others’ victories, commiserate over the trials of running a solo business (or in a DaVinci’s case, several) and share tips on everything from the latest WordPress plugin to how to handle a cantankerous client.

But the biggest thing I get from these women is just being around them. We’re all committed to going for the brass ring, and fairly often one of us grabs it. Someone creates a great product or makes her biggest-ever sale.  That instantly gives the rest of us the belief that we can do it too. And we don’t have to recite affirmations or try to convince ourselves it’s true.

There’s the famous story of the four-minute mile. Everyone thought it was impossible until Roger Bannister broke the record and became the first person to run the mile in four minutes. That same year, a number of other runners did it too.   (A powerful example is worth a thousand affirmations! ) And now, high school kids do it. What once was impossible has become commonplace.

What if that could happen with your “impossible” creative project or Davinci-esque time-management challenge? Not only doesn’t it have to be impossible, if you hang with the right people, it won’t even seem that hard.

The late great personal development guru Jim Rohn (and others) say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So choose carefully, because no matter how much of an  independent thinker you are (and DaVincis usually are that in spades) the company you keep will rub off on you.

Here are a few suggestions for up-leveling your “company” and your life:

1. Join a writers group or other creative association where people actually do the work and have some success, not one where you all support each other in your procrastination.

2. Spend as much time as you can around people who are doing what you want to do at the level you aspire to do it. If possible, swallow your ego and join groups where most or all of the people in it are better and farther along the path than you.

3. If you can’t find them in person, read about them, or go online and make them your virtual friends. What you pay attention to becomes your reality.

4. Don’t hang with whiners under the guise of “support.” We created this community for us to share our strategies with each other for dealing with DaVinci challenges like procrastination, distraction and lack of focus,  fear and issues of life balance. But while it’s great for us to have place where we understand each other, we’re not trying to host a pity party here. The focus is on creating breakthroughs.

5. Avoid the downers like the plague. If you hang around with naysayers who routinely dump on your dreams or your put down “davinci-ness” of course you will feel smaller and less powerful. You can’t change them but you don’t have to stay there (that’s what divorce and the other coast or other continents are for).

“Curating” your friends and associates and upgrading where necessary can be the fastest and easiest way to improve your skills and success and achieve your goals.


Look at every are of your life and all your goals — creative, personal, and also business, financial and health. Who could you rub elbows with who would challenge you to be better?

Are you the beneficiary (or the victim) of the company YOU keep? Share your experience below!

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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam February 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Such a gret read, there is so much truth in this. I love being surround by women who cheer me on and pick me up again when I fall. I must admit, I have recently stopped associating with people who said and did things to bring me down, and it was the best thing I have done in a long time.

healthtrekker August 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Wasn’t it Mark Twain who advised avoiding the company of those who belittle your aspirations?

There was also this book, “Your Film Acting Career” that advised avoiding the downers and the whiners.

Great blog, anyhoo.

Dragon Li March 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

I just recently did an article and speech on this very topic! For much of my life, I was in the company of naysayers, sometimes I refused to let them get to me and sometimes I just got sucked down until I hit a point of desperation.

Years ago I joined Toastmasters, at the time to help me in my computer career (which was completely wrong for me, but I teamed with the naysayers in regards to my true passions), but in it I found people who on a continual basis wanted to see me succeed. I went from a shy, tongue-tied hermit to someone who could walk up to anyone in a room and engage a conversation. The years of negative outlooks had me convinced I was just not a socially (or artistically, or expressively) capable person, and a few years of an encouraging environment had me giving coherent speeches before groups and talking to others without anxiety.

My therapist told me I had to “find my own tribe” and that’s when I came across the DaVinci type. It felt like coming home just to hear that I wasn’t the only one. I’m hoping to find more like me, especially locally, because I know what power an uplifting environment has, and I’d love to apply it to this part of my life for the very first time!

Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. March 22, 2013 at 10:13 am

Welcome to the tribe! So glad you’ve found us. Feel free to contribute articles to us, as well.

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