The Five People You Meet in Business

The Five People You Meet in Business

It has been famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Take a second to think about that. The people you spend time with can lift you up or bring you down. We all need other people who challenge and encourage us, whether it’s our business partner, a competitor, a mentor, or friend. Here are five types of people who should be part of your professional circle. 


Whether you’re just starting out in business or have been at it a long time, you need people who will rally behind your efforts. Champions are people who aren’t merely fans of your business, they’re willing to do something about it. When they sing your praises publicly, or beta test your latest product, or introduce you to a great customer of theirs, one good champion is worth a dozen fair-weather friends. 


It feels good to be surrounded by people who are rooting for your success, but you also need some naysayers. And don’t confuse criticism with negativity. Critics can provide the honest views that help us improve and grow our businesses. They give us feedback that helps us grow ourselves. If you’ve attracted attention and along with it some constructive feedback, then you’re doing something right. 


One of the smartest things smart people do is surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. They tap into the experiences and perspectives of other good thinkers, who help to shape their own ideas and actions. If there’s not a mature, leading authority in your circle, you can get some of the same effect by reading influential people or being part of a business peer group. 


As important as it is to be around experts, there’s power in being a novice and we can learn just as much from them. When we’re in a position of teaching someone, we ourselves learn better. When we watch a novice doing something for the first time, we’re able to analyze it in a different way. And being around learners stimulates our own curiosity about the familiar and predictable. 


And then there are those people who we both like and dislike, who may be personable and friendly even as they compete with us. Why in the world would we keep them around? Because frenemies keep us focused. Competition causes us to assess our strong and weak points. Rivalry may make us resentful, but it also pushes us to succeed. 

The writer Wilferd Peterson said, “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than you found it.” In business and in life, the people around you matter, so choose your company wisely.