On St. Patrick’s Day of 2017 I met up with successful author and entrepreneur Steve Scott in Paramus, NJ. He’s one of the experts I’ll be featuring in my next book, The Power of Authentic Leadership: Activating the 21 Keys to Achieving Prosperity Through Authenticity.
I will give you a sneak peak of some of Scott’s wisdom below, but the main purpose of this post is to encourage you to surround yourself with successful people. In addition to interviewing him for my next book, I also had a chance to pick Steve’s mind about his business. He gave me valuable ideas I can implement in both my speaking and writing initiatives. When you surround yourself with the right people, you are lifted to a higher level.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: there’s enormous value in surrounding yourself with the right people. This is one of those tips that everyone says they know, but few actively apply it in their lives. What kind of people do you get coffee with? What kind of people do you go to bars and restaurants with? What kind of people are you networking and associating with on a weekly and monthly basis?
Look – we all have a few bad eggs in our lives out of necessity or obligation. For example, you might be forced to interact with a negative coworker or a gloomy family member. I’m not saying to cut these people out of your life entirely if you are unable to, especially if the situation demands for you to interact with them. All I’m saying is to consciously limit your time around those kinds of people. More often than that, we are around negative people out of choice instead of out of circumstance.
Maybe you have to see a particularly nasty and unsupportive family member every Thanksgiving. Be the bigger person, show them kindness, and then move on with the rest of your life. Don’t get hung up on the few days out of your year that weren’t exactly fun, especially when you have so much else to look forward to in your year. Focus on getting around supportive and uplifting people.
When It’s Time, It’s Time
If the relationship with another person isn’t bringing you up but isn’t necessarily bringing you down either, perhaps you hang out with that person once or twice a month on a Friday or Saturday night. That’s fine. But when someone is consistently bringing you down, getting you to make bad choices, and awful things seem to happen every time you are with that person – it might be time to stop interacting with them. Every situation is different and the choice is ultimately yours, but this is your life and your success we’re talking about here. Don’t let a negative, nasty, unfairly dysfunctional person take away the joy, peace, contentment, and success that is your birthright.
Here’s an excerpt from the chapter that features Steve Scott in my next book. Please stay tuned for this book’s release!
Stop Giving a F*ck What People Think
“You are an authentic guy,” I said to Steve. “What is the key to taking off the mask and truly being yourself in a world that is constantly trying to get us to be like someone else?”
“First, it’s having and developing faith in your own intuition,” Steve said. “Second, it’s finding happiness within yourself, not the outside world. Third, it’s not giving a fuck what other people think.”
“Love it,” I said. “Can I write it in the book exactly as you said it just now?”
“Yes,” Steve said. “There’s really no better way to put it. I’m in my forties now and I really don’t care what other people think. When I was your age, in my late twenties and early thirties, I did care what other people thought. But not anymore. I drive a crappy, beat-up car. I enjoy spending time with people I care about. And I don’t need to buy the latest iPhone.”
Steve’s authenticity really shines through here, and what he said is so powerful it bears reiterating: he values people over things; he’s not obsessed with having to have the latest gadgets and technological advances; and he’s transparent, freely admitting that he truly doesn’t care what other people think.
I can relate to Steve in deciding to not care about people’s thoughts and judgments. For the longest time after college, I was trying to gain the approval of people who didn’t accept me during that period of my life. I had friends in college, but I was focused on winning over the people who didn’t like me. I would do epic things – for example, I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to compete in the semifinals of the World Championship of Public Speaking, and also I published my first book through a publisher – and I thought, now I’ve earned the approval of my college classmates. Now I can be happy because they’ll finally accept me. That’s when I went to a college reunion in New York City where some of the people in the same graduating class as me were in attendance.
Some of them disrespected me by ignoring me, not talking to me, and otherwise dismissing me. The event wasn’t a total disaster, as I did make some great connections at the event, but at the end of the day I felt left out and isolated, a feeling I hadn’t experienced in many years. This was the same thing they did to me in college and they were still doing it now, despite the progress I had made in my business and life. No hard feelings here, and I’m only sharing this for your benefit, but I left that event genuinely frustrated. After I had time to reflect on the experience I decided to completely, 100%, stop living my life to gain the acceptance of others, especially my judgmental college classmates. This was a turning point for me, as I decided to cut the cord that tied my happiness to their acceptance of me. And I’ve never felt more free (this is coming from someone who was tied to the chains of what other people thought all four years of high school, all four years of college, and many years out of college). Ironically, I’m now in a position to most effectively help and serve others.
When you cut the cord that ties your happiness to the need to be accepted by others, you most effectively position yourself as someone who can help others.
Jeff Davis is an author, professional speaker, and leadership expert. For updates on his next book The Power of Authentic Leadership, please subscribe to his YouTube channel.