Eliminate negativity to achieve success

Discard the friends and influencers around you that hinder progrees and instead surround yourself with those that offer you and your startup constructive criticisim and motivation, writes Manar Al Hinai.

A wise once man told me: “As you’re expanding your business, surround yourself with like-minded individuals.” So does he mean we need to surround ourselves with entrepreneurs only? Or should we only be around people who own or operate businesses?

While that is always a great idea, what he really meant was that I should be around people with a positive vibe, who share the same mindset, are encouraging, have a similar vision; people who would not put me down. They do not necessarily need to be running a business.

When I first started my writing career, I wrote an article on women and employment that received a lot of positive feedback, and I was ecstatic when a CNN anchor contacted me on Twitter and said she had enjoyed reading my piece.

I was over the moon and called a friend to tell her the news. She did not react as I had hoped. Instead, she said that writing was so easy that anyone could do it if they had the time, and that I should not feel that special about it.

I was silent and got off the phone quickly; I felt upset because I assumed my friend would be happy for me. But instead she ruined my mood for the day, and made me reevaluate our friendship.

On the other hand, my mentor does the complete opposite. When I go to him with an idea that I want to pursue, he provides me with full support, always telling me that if I feel passionate about an idea, then it will be successful. His feedback is informative and his criticism constructive.

When I compare my friend to my mentor, I realise the effect one person can have on someone’s path in life. They can either serve as a catalyst and a positive agent on a journey to success, or they can pull you down if you let them.

Those we are in constant contact with can have a major influence on our lives, our emotional states, and the way we run our businesses.

When you are at the start-up phase or even later in the business cycle, they will always offer feedback on what you should call your business, where you should operate, and who your target audience should be.

The renowned American businessmen Jim Rohn once said: “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

On your path to building your business, your legacy, you need people around you whether they are family members, friends, mentors or co-workers who will challenge you and make you better at what you do. Many entrepreneurs strive to be the smartest people in the room, and the best among their peers, but that can be destructive. You want to be around people who have done greater things, that challenge you to achieve more. You want to be around people that inspire you, people you could learn from, people who will always help you grow.

I have to tell you it is not an easy exercise to evaluate those closest to you. You may even feel that you are judgmental. However, you need to appreciate the importance their influence has on your performance and growth. At the start-up phase you have so much at stake. You need to have the right push and not let this issue go unaddressed.

If someone is putting you down, reduce his or her involvement in that aspect of your life. You do not need to cut them off, but do not involve them in your business or decision-making process.

If you want to achieve more success, a good place to start is to see who is influencing your life right now? Look at who you are spending most of your time with and whether they are helping you or are hindering you from achieving your dreams.

I began this process a few years ago, and I realised that my surrounding environment is just as important as the dream I want to achieve.

There is an old saying that goes: “It is hard to soar like an eagle, if you are surrounded by a bunch of turkeys”. If we aspire to reach new levels of success, some changes need to be made.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter: @manar_alhinai

Published: December 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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