The People Around You

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Yesterday, I had a conversation with a client regarding the impact of the pandemic on his business. Unfortunately, not much went right for him over the last year. He lost a lot of clients, he had to let 30% of his staff go, and he was very concerned about his company’s survival. To say he was very pessimistic about his and the companies future would be an understatement.

A week earlier, I had a conversation with another businesswoman, who saw the whole thing very different. Her business took a hit, but she could use the current situation to grow her business further than before the pandemic. She was very optimistic about her company’s future.

Those two are not in the same business, but both are seasoned entrepreneurs who have gone through many ups and downs on their way to building their businesses.

It would be easy to say that one was luckier than the other, but could that alone make such a difference?

In my experience, success is based on several factors:

  • Action
  • Direction
  • Time

Taking the right action in the right direction over a period of time will bring results and success.

Over the years, I came to the conclusion that besides your actions, your success will also be strongly influenced by some luck and the people around you. More specific, it connects like this:

  • Your actions, views and beliefs (40%)
  • Luck, being in the right place at the right time and taking the opportunity (10%)
  • The impact of others, their believes and actions (50%)

All of those influence each other. Everyone is influenced by the people around them, what they talk about, what they believe and how they act. This goes for the others as well based on your actions, believes and what you talk about. Luck is a small but, depending on the situation, a very important aspect as well. Winning the lottery will probably impact you in a big way, while winning a small price in a tombola won’t have much impact.

If you look at the percentages, you might see how important other people are. In my experience, they are 50% of your success. This is a big number.

Imagine you are surrounded by people who struggle with life, constantly complaining about everything but rarely taking any action to change. Instead, they rather complain about it. It seems easier.

What would you think if everyone around you were like that? Do you think it would impact you?

On the other side, you might be surrounded by people who love a challenge, are curious and have a positive outlook on life.

How would you feel around them? Do you think it would impact you?

The same goes the other way around. If you are a person with a positive outlook on life, full of action, and ready to create value, what do you think how this will impact the people around you?

We all influence each other, and it is on us to create the environment we can thrive and develop ourselves.

So how does this relate to the two people I introduced at the beginning of this article?

You might guess it. My client got dragged into a negative cycle. There is this strange human behaviour that drives us towards people who believe what we believe. In my client’s case, he believes that the pandemic is the downfall of his business and, driven by this idea, surrounded himself with people of similar believes.

The result is clear. The influence of the people around you (50%), your actions (40%) and the lack of luck (10) make for 100% disaster. It’s just maths if you ask me.

While the other businesswoman had the opposite outcome, knowingly or not, it worked.

I am not saying everything is that simple. At least not for the people on a negative spiral. It is hard to think positive and find solutions when all you are surrounded with are problems (at least so you might think).

I also don’t want to promote the blind “Positive Thinking” approach. But if you know that things are difficult and not going your way, surrounding yourself with people who think the same can’t be a good thing.

What I am promoting is an open mind to the possibility that there is a solution. You just don’t know it yet. That solution cannot be found among people who are not looking for it. But there is a high chance that it can be found with the “Curious Minds”. The ones who are looking, playing and testing. The ones who believe that there is more to be found.

Would you agree?

What do you think I should tell my client?

Let me tell you what we did.

The first thing was to adjust and reaffirm the core of it all. I am talking about the actions, the direction and the timeframe. Being clear where he wants to go makes it easier to align the actions needed to get there. The next step is to put this all into a timeframe. He hasn’t got endless resources, and putting a timeframe around it makes it easier to assess the risk and measure points.

The next step is finding help within the company and in the community. He needs to set the path for everyone involved. That is his staff, family, suppliers, etc. They need to know where they are and what the plan is. They need to be part of it all. Let’s not forget; they make 50% of a possible success.

With the timeframe come the measuring points. Those are the points that define the success we are expecting to have. We need to check if we are on track and adjust the actions if needed.

To take away the pressure, we also defined the exit strategy, which means what to do if it doesn’t work out. This is important and often forgotten.

Knowing that there is a way out relieves the pressure and opens the mind to the task at hand. Moreover, it gives a complete picture of the situation.

I also advised him to inform the people around him of this exit strategy. They should know as well.

Doing all of this has already had a huge impact. My client is back on track. He has a plan, and he is going for it. The support of the people around him was amazing and really gave him a big boost.

Not to forget, there is the other important factor we haven’t mentioned yet: Time.

Time will tell!

If you are in such a situation right now, I hope you can take something out of this article and give yourself and the people around you another chance to be successful.

You fully deserve it.



John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium, this site is run by John di Stefano, teaching and supporting entrepreneurs to learn the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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