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Your mom was right: you become like the people you spend the most time with. Who are the people you hang around with most often?

You’re going to absorb the mindsets and speaking habits of the people you’re around. Are the people you’re with in the possession of the kind of mindset you desire? Do they share the values you have? Are they living the kind of life you want to live?

What media are you consuming? What videos are you watching? What podcasts are you listening to? What books are you reading?

We talk about finding these people with good mindsets and how to get around them and grow with them. We also talk about dealing with family and people close to you when they have a negative mindset that’s bringing you down, but you don’t want to just cut them out of your life.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • Just like you become like the people you’re around, you become like the content you consume.
  • Get around people who challenge you, believe in you, and will push you forward.
  • If you continue to see people who do the same thing you do as competition, you will never have community.
  • The forerunners of your industry are not the people you should be reaching out to. Reach out to people one or two levels above you and grow with them.
  • Don’t follow advice from people who aren’t living a life you want to live.
  • Negativity is a powerful force—you can’t afford to be around it. Cut it out of your life where you can, and offset it with 5x positivity where you can’t.
Show Notes
  • 07:25 Sean: It’s rare to find people who understand my mentality and hard work ethic; not everyone gets it. I have friends who will say, “Hey, there’s this thing going on, you should have come,” and I’ll say, “I really wish I could have. I wanted to be there. Hopefully I can next time.” I’m not blowing them off—I’m making real sacrifices. I’m choosing not to do things that would be fun to get things done. I went on to explain it.
  • 08:11 Here’s the situation I’m in: I’m seeing how things are going, things are growing, I’m trying to bring on people to the team to help us grow. I learned this lesson the hard way with my first business and I’m trying to do it right, but it’s tough. I need to take care of these people. They’re like my family. I’m doing what it takes in the time it needs to be done, and I’ve had to say no to things I would otherwise love to participate in. I started talking about it a little bit, and by this point, their eyes had glossed over and they no longer had eye contact with me.
  • 08:50 They’re looking around the room, getting distracted, and they say, “Yeah, okay. Hey, I have to go,” and they leave. It’s disappointing. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t have people like that in your life ever, but part of why I’m planning a celebration for my employees is because I wanted to revel in the fact that I do have people around me that believe in me and are supporting me and the things that I’m doing, and they understand it. Today, I thought it would be a good topic to discuss who you’re positioning yourself around. The first thing is recognizing why that’s important. Why does it matter who you’re around? And what does that look like?

You Become Like the People You’re Around

  • 09:49 Ben: We don’t naturally do this, but there’s a lot of value in being an observer of yourself. One of the things I notice when I’m actually paying attention is that I tend to emulate the people I spend the most time with. I recognize that. If you want a really good sense of to what degree you do that, ask someone close to you. Say, “When I go and hang out with so-and-so, do you notice a difference when I come home?” I did this when I was a kid and I was hanging out with a buddy of mine who watched Beavis and Butthead.
  • 10:47 Both of the characters had really annoying laughs, and my friend would laugh like that all the time.I would come home and I would be laughing like that. One day out of the blue after enduring that for so long, my dad kind of blew up on me. He said, “Stop laughing like that! It is so annoying.” I didn’t realize it; I didn’t think about it, but being around that person so much had an influence on how I was laughing. It’s good to observe that and recognize that’s happening.
  • 11:45 Sean: You become more like the people you’re around, and not just the people you’re around in person, but also, you become like the content you consume. You become more like the people you watch on YouTube, listen to in podcasts, and the books that you read. Cory, have you observed that you’ve changed since working at seanwes?
  • 12:14 Cory: 100%—for sure. I think about that sometimes. I go about things differently. I would have worked for some window cleaning company—I probably was going to had you not asked me to work for you. I would have never had clients. I didn’t even think that was a thing for me. It’s crazy, but it’s pretty cool. There’s definitely been a huge change.
  • 12:54 Sean: Ben, what if someone is in the position where they recognize that they’re not around the people they want to be around, or the people they hang around with a lot are not like the people they want to be? They are trying and do this thing, pursue their passion and go out on their own or leave their day job—whatever it is for them—if they’re trying to find those types of people, what would you say to them?
  • 13:29 Ben: I would say, go ahead and join the seanwes Community.
  • 13:42 Sean: I was talking to some Community members the other day, or maybe I was just observing it, and Hanna said that she was getting tired of hearing people talk about this life-changing Community place all the time until she joined, and now she says, “I get it. I realize why they were saying it all the time.”
  • 14:12 Ben: How do you find that? Let’s pretend the seanwes Community doesn’t exist. I’m imagining a person who thinks differently from the people they’re normally around. There’s some source they’re consuming that’s helping them think that way. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum; I think it does have to come from somewhere. Start there—go back to those sources and trace those to actual people and communities. If you watch Gary Vee videos, chances are there are people who live in your area or there are online communities of people who subscribe to Gary Vee, his ideas, and values, and if you do a little bit of work, you’d be surprised by what exists that may even be free. If you find something you might have to pay for, it’s worth it to be around people who think the way you do to offset your daily experience.

Being around people who think the way you do and challenge you to go deeper into your values is worth paying for.

  • 15:56 Sean: A lot of people jump to, “I like watching Gary Vee, I like listening to the seanwes podcast, and I want to think like that and have that mindset. I’m going to try and hit up Gary Vee and see if we can hang out.” You and hundreds of other people. That’s not going to happen, because he’s hustling. He doesn’t have time. Even when he has a meetup and the most loyal fans fly out to see him, you have a brief moment, if that, to get in a word. It’s way better to start local. There are people in your own area that you can connect with, and I would start there. Try and meet people in person. Don’t set your sights too high.
  • 16:46 Don’t try to go to the ultimate example of what you want to be, because those people are going to be really hard to get in touch with. Lower your goal of the type of person you want to be around and look more at the mindset and the direction they’re going. In ten years, if they kept going in that direction, are they going where you want to go? Are they going to be where you want to be? Find those people. If you’re starting to think differently and you’re just getting into it—maybe you’re a level two or three to Gary Vee’s 10 as far as hustle and work ethic goes—think of people who embody your values even at a lower level in terms of what they’ve accomplished.
  • 26:14 I was having lunch with Matt yesterday, and we were talking about hustle and the people who don’t want to talk to you about the hustle or hard work. You start talking to them about the hard work, and they’re just disappointed you didn’t come to their party. They say, “You really missed out,” and you say, “I know, I wanted to be there. I had to work. I can’t just think about today.”
  • 26:55 Ben: There’s a balance to be had when it comes to work. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t ever spend time with your family. It’s not like that.

If you make too many allowances, you can get into a pattern where you’re too ready to make excuses and not do the work.

  • 27:25 People come to expect that from you. They don’t respect your work time because you don’t respect your work time. It has to be a balance. Hold it tightly and defend the places where you need to work, while making some allowances for the things that are meaningful when it comes to spending time with your family.

Grow With Others in Your Industry

  • 27:58 Sean: You’ve recognized the importance of who you’re around and you’re working to find these people. You’re understanding that it’s a levels thing. If you think you’re a level two person, try and get around a level three or a level four person and grow with them instead of burning yourself out crying upon the deaf ears of a level 10. Grow with the people around you. I wrote an article on this during the ramp up to the Learn Lettering launch—it was about competition vs. community (Related: Other Hand Lettering Artists Aren’t Competition—They’re Your Community). Getting into any industry, you look at the people doing the same things as you, and they’re trying to grow their audience, sell their products, and get the same kind of clients you would want to get. You think, “Those guys are the enemy; they’re my competition.” I had this realization that that’s the wrong way to think about things.

If you continue to see people who do the same thing you do as competition, you will never have community.

  • 28:58 Competition and community are concepts that are at odds. You want to be growing with the people who are around you. If you’re ostracizing yourself, saying, “These guys are hustling, so I have to hustle against them and beat them out,” you miss out on so much. You should get together with them and hustle together. It’s not a zero sum game.
  • 29:25 Ben: There’s something really valuable about being around people who are in your industry doing something similar to you. You get to see, by being with them, what it is that makes you unique and allows you to offer unique value to your audience. Sometimes it’s difficult to see that when you’re not spending time with other people. You recognize in them, “I see this nuanced piece of the way they do this, and that’s not the way I do it. I do it this way.” It’s a good thing to be able to recognize those differences. It helps take away that sense of competition.
  • 30:16 Sean: If it feels like you’re taking someone’s time and it feels weird—like you’re trying to ask for the other person’s time and you’re not compensating them or like you’re asking too much—then it means you’re aiming too high. If you’re with someone you can grow with, it’s not going to feel like that. They’re going to be just as excited to meet you. They’ll say, “Yeah, that’s awesome. Let’s get together and let’s talk. I would love to discuss this stuff with you.” It’s going to feel right.
  • 31:08 If you’re going to someone who’s way more advanced than you, it feels wrong, because really, you should be paying advanced people for their consulting. You’re trying to get some of what they have, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but be willing to compensate. They’ve been working for years, and the advice they’re going to give you is going to make a tremendous difference in your business. It will take a few minutes for them to share that, but it will make a tremendous difference, and it’s well worth the value to compensate these people.

If you’re not in a position to compensate someone to learn from them, then grow with the people next to you.

  • 31:43 Ben: If you’re going to people at a level much higher than you are, sometimes that can prevent positive growth because of the way you’re comparing your output to theirs. I think about times I’ve had really high aspirations for the kind of output I wanted, and I will not start on things because of how overwhelming it seems to get started on the perfect idea I have in my mind. If I’m surrounded by people who are more at my level, I’m seeing that they’re not doing all the things. They’re just doing this one thing and focusing on doing it really well right now, and they’re growing into the next thing.
  • 32:42 If I look objectively at Sean, for example, today seanwes has a daily video show, several podcasts on a network, newsletters, blog posts, and all of this stuff going on, plus what he’s doing in social media. I would love to be doing all of that, but if I make that my goal, I’ll never get started on the one thing I should be focusing on right now at the level I am, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so valuable to be around people who are at the same level as you, or maybe a step ahead.
  • 33:24 Sean: Once you find this person, it’s really important to meet them regularly. Get that on the schedule.
  • 33:36 Cory: I just met this guy, Nick, whom I’ve known for a little bit but we’ve just started meeting. He’s a really awesome guy and he’s got a lot of stuff going on. We’re about on the same level or he’s a little bit above me, so it’s very mutual. I’m not saying, “Give me all your information,” because we’re both giving to each other. It’s a really good relationship we have going on there. You said to meet regularly, so I’m thinking about making that happen more.
  • 34:17 Sean: Spontaneous get-togethers are great as long as they’re kept up, but when you say, “I can’t do it this week, but we’ll get together,” it ends up never happening.
  • 34:57 Ben: That dynamic where you feel like that person’s above you but they feel like you’re above them creates a mutual respect. The levels thing is a simplistic way to think about it, because it’s really much more complex and dynamic than that. In some areas, you may be a level above him, and in some areas you may be a level below him. There’s this thing that happens when you get around people who are around the same level as you. You’ve got strengths in areas they have weaknesses and visa versa, so you get to benefit from the synergy of that.
  • 35:36 Those relationships are almost the most fun, because there’s that mutual respect. It’s like, “You’re the best,” “No, you’re the best,” “No, you’re the best!” I have that with a mentor of mine, someone I look up to a lot. It blows my mind when sometimes they say, “I hadn’t thought of it that way. I really appreciate you and look up to you.” To hear that from someone I really respect is a good boost.

Limit Your Exposure to Negativity

  • 36:28 Sean: What about the person who has people in their life that they can’t get away from? They can’t change those people and they know that they’re not the right type of people. They know it’s not the type of people they want to be around. You’re getting messages from people saying, “You shouldn’t be doing this. Stop going out on your own. Get a job, be serious. Be a normal person and do your thing and enjoy your passion on the side. Let’s not be unreasonable. You have a family to take care of. You want to build a career, come on.”
  • 37:05 You’re hearing these kinds of messages from people. Sometimes it’s from people who are just friends, and you say, “I don’t know if I want to do this thing; my friend said he did it and it didn’t work out.” The question I say to ask yourself is:

Are the people discouraging you from living in your passion living the life you want to live?

  • 37:28 Let’s say they’re not. If they’re not, you shouldn’t follow the advice of people who aren’t living lives you want to live. If those people are in your family or are very close to you so you can’t or don’t want to get away from them, you don’t want to cut them out of your life but you can’t change them, what should you do?
  • 37:57 Ben: There are relationships you can’t afford to hold onto if they’re negative influences in your life. The relationships you can’t afford to let go of are your family or your spouse, regardless of the voice or influence they have in your life. Find the thing that takes you 10% down the road, and that’s about it. 10% down the road of escaping their influence is recognizing the difference and the result of their mindset in their life. If you can be objective about that and think, “I hear what you’re saying, but I also see that you’ve been in a job you’ve complained about for 40 years. I remember you talking about this thing you want to do, this dream you have, and you’ve never chased it. Sure, you live in a nice house, but…”
  • 39:16 You can be objective about those things, not in a demeaning way, but for yourself, so that you can recognize the difference. That might take you 10% away from their influence. The fact is, being around those people is going to influence you. You have to offset that. We’re talking about people you can’t cut out of your life. Maybe, depending on what their position is in the family, you can limit your exposure to them, but I would rather you put your energy into being around the right kind of people to offset that.

For every one hand you have pulling you down, you need five other hands pulling you up.

Negativity is a powerful force.

  • 40:17 Sean: These people are in a hole, and they’re trying to pull you down into the hole. It’s way easier to pull you into the hole than it is for you to lift them out entirely.
  • 40:36 Ben: Negativity is like gravity, and they have that force on their side. You need community to offset that. You can be gracious to the people you have to be around, and not in a begrudging way. I love my family, my dad and stepmom, my aunt who sees things completely differently—I love talking to her about things. But, when it comes to the areas of my life where I’m trying to focus my mindset on positive things that are going to be beneficial for me and my family in the long term, I can’t just have that single influence in my life. I’ve got to offset it with other people who are positive, who are moving in a direction I want to go.
  • 42:18 Sean: Maybe there’s a person who doesn’t want to be in this pit of negativity, but they care so much about the other person that they hope they can pull them out, and that’s why they’re hanging around there. The problem is that negativity is overpowering. When it’s one on one, that’s not a tie; the negativity is winning out, just because of the gravity on it’s side. You have to limit that exposure. You also have to realize that they’re not better once you pull them out of the hole and they see how great it is above ground. That’s not how it works.

The mindset that gets you to the next level of success is the same mindset that gets you out of negativity in the first place.

  • 43:10 You have to change the way you think when the circumstances around you, the hole you’re in, are still dark. That’s when you have to change your thinking. Trying to drag and pull them out of the hole isn’t going to fix that, because they’re going to crawl right back in unless they had that mindset change. They have to choose it; you can’t force it on them. It comes from gradually being exposed and warmed up to that new mindset, and it has to be something where that’s not your primary engagement. You’re primarily engaged with five other positive people who are where you want to be and who you’re growing with. Then you can come back and emanate a little bit of that to people who aren’t on the same page yet.
  • 44:06 Ben: I’m very fortunate in that I’ve got a spouse who pushes and challenges me and who is more of one of the hands on the top. In some ways, though, for each of us, we’ve also mutually been the hand pulling in the other direction. You can’t let your journey to the destination where you’re trying to go be a source of frustration and bitterness to the people who are in your life. Sometimes, the people who are closest to you, who love and care about you and want the best things for you, won’t see things the way you do. It’s not okay and it’s not good for you if you hold bitterness toward those people. They don’t see what’s happening the way you do. See yourself as not above them, but above that force.
  • 45:30 Sean: It’s not about cutting people out, but if people are pulling you down and you can’t 5x that time with other positive people, you need to decrease that time. Whatever time it is, you need to decrease it. That’s time you’re spending, and you have to make sure you’re not spending time with people who are dragging you down.

Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

  • 45:16 The Community is a great solution for someone who is having trouble finding people around them or who wants people on demand with the mindset we’re talking about. It’s not like you have to wait until your Saturday meeting to talk with them or you text and they’re not there. The nice thing is, there’s always people in the Community you can bounce ideas off of who are going to encourage you. It’s just one solution. You can find people around you. We made this place because doing this podcast brings a certain kind of people together. The seanwes Community is a place for like-minded people to connect.
  • 47:01 There are people discussing this in the chat. Cory Miller said, “The Community has absolutely shaped me into the person I am today. I’m much more confident, much more educated, and I have much more drive than I did before joining.” Podcast listeners might say, “Cory works for you.” He does work for me, but he was in the Community for half a year or a year first. The reason he works for me is because he was here. These are the type of people I want to be around, the people I trust with my business and want to give responsibility to and empower. I’m going to spend thousands of dollars on a domain for him because I believe in what he does because he wants to do a show on this network.
  • 47:59 Raffael says, “It’s impossible not to be changed by the Community.” Kelly says, “I always prefer to go to the Community if I need advice or motivation. My real life friends are more for relaxation and fun time.” Brian says, “I’m here for less than three months, and I’m already seeing changes in my confidence and general hustle. Thanks guys.”
  • 48:23 Ben: Even though Sean and I were having conversations about a lot of these topics, the Community is a place where I get to assert my voice and share things with people who are at many different levels. It becomes practice for me. I had a meeting with a client the other day, and because of the practice I had in here talking about the things we do and the way we do them, I was able to carry on a conversation with someone who was a much more seasoned marketing person and speak with authority about the things we talk about all the time.
  • 49:09 It’s not that I lack confidence, but you know the difference between things you talk about with friends and being in a professional setting. Being able to express those ideas confidently, and without the Community and the conversations we’ve had here, I wouldn’t have had all that practice. Though I would have known all the same things and believed them just as strongly, I wouldn’t have been able to communicate them the same way. It’s incredibly valuable. It could mean the difference between paying my mortgage or not for the next few months. That’s how big of a deal it is, if you want to make it about dollars and cents, but it’s so much more than that.