The Friends You Choose Determine Your Success

By on September 19, 2015
the friends you choose determine your success

 By Stephanie Scheller–

In early 2012 I attended two wealth-building/personal-growth seminars back to back in my hometown. While the information I learned at both seminars was great, I actually learned something more valuable when I realized that many of the attendees at the first seminar were also in attendance at the second seminar.

I watched all these people interacting and realized that they were making friends with everyone else in the city who was likely to become a big financial player in the future. This was the first time that I got a very clear look at the power that your friends can have on you and how everyone seemed to be aware of this factor and was trying to leverage it by making friends with other people who could lift them into financial greatness.

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That single observation, compounded when I saw the same concept pop up over and over again across books, blogs, seminars and coaching sessions. That single idea turned into an entire book that I decided to use to test my theory of finding friends to bring yourself to the levels you want.

When I started writing my book I quickly realized that the friends you choose have two realms of power in your life. First over your mindset and second over the advice you internalize and act on. It’s important to realize that your mindset and outlook on life is tinted by the friends you keep.

For most people, if their friends put a priority on education, the individual in question will as well, not only to get along better with their friends, but also because that is the accepted level of normality among their friends. To some extent, we will choose friends who support the beliefs we are raised with, but at the same time the friends that we choose will cement the beliefs that we hold or encourage change in those mindsets.

It is also vital to understand that your friends, more often than not, are the ones who will provide you with the advice you follow to determine your life. I remember seeing a billboard a little while ago with an average looking woman on the ad and it said “Tax troubles? Call (insert company name) first and your sister-in-law second.” I thought this was such a perfect example of the second piece to the power your friends have over you.

While we all accept legal and medical advice from non-professionals from time to time, when there is real value on the line, we don’t risk going to friends and family for advice on how to handle that. I don’t understand why some people leave their success on the line by going to those who haven’t achieved that same success or some semblance of for advice.

One of the examples I use in my book is how your friends will affect your personal growth. College students probably spend more time each week growing and learning than many full-time adults. They attend lectures, read books, write papers and then get tested to determine how much they actually retained. Students who attend the same school, take the same classes and graduate with the same degree have, usually, the same amount of personal growth potential in that time-frame. Why will some students explode with growth and others come out no more mature and level-headed and ready to add value to the world than when they entered university?

The answer is pretty easy to understand: One student spent his or her time surrounded by intellectual students and the other probably spent the majority of his or her time living the classic university party life. In this case, both had the same opportunities but the friends they chose completely changed the future they will have. What is interesting is that the student who chose to grow and take advantage of the opportunities he or she had in college will likely continue that habit of self-growth throughout the rest of his or her life – with or without the help of friends surrounding him or her.

This concept continues well beyond the hallowed halls of school. As someone who spent a substantial amount of time in the traditional work-place I can say that there is something to be said for the adult who spends weekends at seminars to grow their personal mindsets and world-views, who purchases books to read them to expand how they look at the world. These are the adults who, usually, make it a priority to travel and meet new friends around the globe. These are the adults who look at the world through a difference lens and realize that there are a variety of viewpoints out there, none of them are wrong per-se and not all of them are bad. However, and again I am speaking from personal experience, these habits tend to fall by the way-side without someone in your life to support them.

If everyone you surround yourself with is happy with the mindsets they currently have and don’t feel a need to expand their mindsets and grow their perspectives, you are not likely to feel that way either. On the other hand, when I found myself at a job where everyone I spent time with felt that they were sufficiently versed in the world, I was very resistant to continuing my own growth – even though I was the student in college who was spending all my time with the honors crowds.

I was so resistant and so overly confident in my own knowledge that when I was presented with an opportunity to take a course for free, I snubbed that opportunity for a whole year. I picked up books, occasionally, but overall was comfortable with the idea that I was in a good place mentally and after four years of rigorous study, I didn’t need to put such emphasis on it anymore. Only after I adjusted the friends I surrounded myself with and my mindset was I able to take that free course and it completely changed my life.

Everything I’ve just written and you’ve just read is useless without the next part. Being aware of the power that your friends have over your future is a great first step, but unless you’re going to do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything for you. I spend a lot of time with my coaching clients figuring out exactly what they want so they can determine what kinds of friends they want to surround themselves with.

I share in my book and I’ll share again here, this theory isn’t trying to convince anyone to break off meaningful relationships so long as they are supportive, but it is encouraging you to be aware of the power your friends have over you.

The problem that most people run into is that sometimes even just getting the right kinds of friends requires action. It requires action on your part to stop spending time around the friends that pull you away from your goals and replace them with others who will help propel you forward. It requires action to chase goals and dreams.

Many people are too scared to take the kind of action necessary to achieve their dreams. In some cases there is an inherent fear of what will happen if the change we make to chase our dreams doesn’t work out and backfires. In other cases there is a deeply seeded fear of losing the love and respect of those we hold close. The best advice I can supply for overcoming these fears is that the changes you make don’t have to be the end of the story. You always have the capability to change again, find new friends, chase new success, and build new relationships. You have the world before you!

For more information about the book that dives into this concept in detail and a free webinar about the power of your friends visit


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The Friends You Choose Determine Your Success