Your network is your net worth.
While many would measure wealth by a number in their bank account, I have found that what makes me “rich” are the people and experiences I’ve shared with those closest to me. It’s why over the past couple years I have largely forgone higher salaries for opportunities to invest in deeper and more meaningful relationships.
The premise of this post is not to highlight the value of relationships, which I think is already widely understood by most, but to begin to lay an understanding of what types of relationships an individual should have, as well as who is worthy of their time.
Here’s how I’ve gone about evaluating my relationships to create a healthy balance, or what some may consider a bank account, of individuals in my network.
There’s a saying that goes, be the dumbest person in the room.
Meaning: surround yourself with more talented people; those who challenge you to grow.
For me, this has largely meant finding those who are older and more experienced than me, people who can answer questions and help me overcome setbacks because they themselves have walked through it. One of the main reasons I started The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast was to help build greater connections with these types of folks; people who I respect for their work and their character. These are individuals who I want to learn from and reflect the best parts of them with the rest of the world.
My mentors are typically very busy, with a lot of people begging for their time and attention, which is why I treat these relationships with the utmost respect. Most people don’t have mentors, or they’re not individuals who truly challenge them. If I segment out different parts of my life: business, faith, health, etc.; I have mentors in each of these areas. I surround myself with the best in their field because I want to become the best version of me I possibly can.
Peers are typically those who are on the same playing field as you. These are the individuals (usually around the same age) who are going through similar struggles and can be your source of encouragement when the going gets tough. Peers are typically the easiest group to grow because there is natural commonality in day-to-day activities.
While growing a peer group is relatively easy for most of the general populace, what I have found is that this is not the case for most Achievers, The mindset of the Achiever is to always be thinking about the future and how to get ahead. Achievers tend to be a couple years ahead of their peers and often neglect peer relationships because it doesn’t benefit them as much as a mentor relationship.
However, if one is always looking towards the future and where they will be, they neglect to take comfort and find joy in the now; making them a walking shell of an existence. I sensed this early because this was me. I started an entrepreneurship group called XCL Group to specifically help foster these peer-to-peer relationships among young, hungry, entrepreneurs.
Mentees are those who are younger and often times look up to you as a role model. In life, it’s important to soak in, but it’s also important to radiate – give back.
There’s a boy I mentor who I pour into and teach all the things I wish I had someone teach me. In the past I’ve coached entrepreneurs and this will likely be something I do more of in the future. So much of what I’m building with The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast and writing on The Wescapades is to make the best use of time and do this at scale because it’s something I value and enjoy.
What is also important to know about a mentee is that they often, if not always, provide learning opportunities for me. Through my mentorship activities I’ve learned patience, grace, learning to be still, and other things that are a reminder of what truly matter in life.
I largely credit a friend and mentor Sue Hawkes, Author of Chasing Perfection for teaching me this lesson.
Overall, it’s importance to have a balance across all areas, and that balance may change during the duration of an individual’s life. Balance may not look like 33/33/33 – chances are it won’t be, but it’s up to you to discover what a healthy balance of these three types of relationships looks like and to devote the adequate time and effort to nurturing each of them. You may have too large of a peer group, not enough mentees, missing a mentor in a specific area, etc.
There is no one right answer, but if you take time to evaluate, find a balance that works for you, and cut back on areas and groups that require more than you have to give, then I can promise you you’ll begin to walk in the “richest” life available.