This quote has been stalking me for weeks now:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”- Jim Rohn
It gets me. It really gets me. And here’s why:
In the business books and blogs we all love, there is constant talk of finding our ‘tribe’, our most ideal clients. We create elaborate customer avatars to dig down into the demographics and psychology of our tribe.
And we spend no small part of our time strategizing where we will locate potential tribe members, how we can connect with them and the key influencers we need to give us credibility.
Cultivating a tribe (even if you don’t call it that) is what most good marketing strategies are all about.
But in order to build and maintain our business tribe while still producing our actual products and services, there is another sort of tribe that we cannot ignore. It’s the tribe that Jim is referring to in his quote.
The Foundational Tribe
This is the tribe of significant others, friends, family or colleagues that we turn to when we need a break. They are the ones we call when we score a new client and they’re also the ones we call when we lose a client. They’re the people we lean on.
Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about and cultivating our ideal business tribe, but hardly any time creating our best possible foundational tribe.
Why is that?
We need a strong foundational tribe in order to be able to create an awesome business tribe. It’s basic common sense: if you feel alone and unsupported, all of your endeavors, business and otherwise, are going to be a heck of a lot harder.
Our foundational tribe is the engine that drives us to run our business, complete the marathon, publish that book or take that vacation.
Pretty important tribe, huh?
So ask yourself this: when you think of the average of the five people you spend the most time with, are you happy with that idea? Or do the names you come up with disturb you a little?
Maybe it’s time for some tribe cleaning.
Is there someone in your foundational tribe who really shouldn’t be there? Someone who takes and takes but isn’t giving you much value in return?
A lot of us are holding onto people that aren’t contributing to our rock solid foundation. Instead, we’re allowing them to put cracks in it.
And let me reiterate: If you’re not getting the support you need outside your business, that weakness will eventually sneak its way into your business.
So this isn’t even a purely personal question. This is about creating sustainable, solid businesses that thrive for a long time to come.
Without a strong foundation to stand on, your business will suffer.
It’s your tribe. You choose who stays or leaves. You are not chained to any of these people. If you’re not satisfied with the relationship, do something about it.
Easier said than done. Taking action in these situations is tough, especially when we have history with the person, mutual friends or maybe even live on the same street.
I get it. I’ve been there a bunch of times. If there was an easy checklist to make this less painful, I would give it to you. But there isn’t.
For some people, walking away isn’t the solution. Maybe these are your right people but neither of you have been investing in the relationship. Maybe it’s not too late and you can still get the train back on its tracks.
For others, walking away might be the only solution.
I can’t tell you which option is best and neither can anyone else. And you don’t need me to. Deep down, you know what needs to be done.
Yes. You do.
Are there people in your foundational tribe that are hurting you more than they’re helping? What are you going to do about it? Are you going to let them keep affecting your business negatively?
Or are you going to replace them with a tribe that truly helps you flourish?