One question we should ask ourselves as we grow older is “who do we spend most of our time with?”
It might seem okay to spend most of your time helping others but how are you going to grow if all you do is give?
Likewise, how are you going to serve if all you do is take?
I often say, you can’t give what you don’t have.
No matter how willing you are, you need to spend some time learning from others in other to give back to others.
And yes, it’s important to be always willing to give. In one of my recent posts, I share some insights into the 5 reasons people struggle to give.
The big challenge I find often is that some people feel intimated to be around people that are more experienced, more skilled, more talented etc, and some people find it difficult to be with people of less experience, skills etc.
This shouldn’t be the case. If you’d like to keep growing in your business, career, relationship, faith etc. you need to be willing to learn from people that have been where you are.
Again, I want you to reflect on this question: who do you spend your time with?
Is it with people who tend to benefit from you?
Is it with people who you tend to benefit from?
Or perhaps with people who you exchange knowledge and skills?
A while ago, I came across the “law of 33%”, a concept created by Tail Lopez, a serial entrepreneur, and online marketer.
The law simply states that we should spend 33% of our time with the following three types of people:
1. Our Mentors:
These are people we look up to. People who have been where we want to be. People who hold the knowledge and wisdom we seek. They might be alive or dead, nearby or far away. If you can’t reach them, you can always get access to their knowledge through books, courses, audio recordings etc.
“Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.”George Lucas
But how do you get access to these mentors?
Here are 3 ways:
Read books: These are books that have stood the test of time. Not just the bestsellers of last week. Sadly some of the mentors you may want aren’t alive so one way to reach them is through their written words.
Your Inner Circle: Sometimes we fail to realise the mentors we already have in our lives. What about your boss at work? Wouldn’t you like to learn how he was able to set up his business and employ someone like you? Or perhaps your aunty who has been married for 30 years could teach you more about being happily married than any Course could.
Events: How many events do you attend a year? This is something I struggle with because of my level of commitments, but I strive to attend 3-5 major events a year. Already I have met a few mentors just by going to events.
2. Our Peers
These are people we hang around with. Our close friends, our colleagues at work, our gym buddies, our spouses, business associates etc They understand what we go through as they are often in similar situations. These are people you can share your burdens and successes with. These are your life long friends and sometimes business partners.
You might think this is the easiest type of people to connect with. Whilst they are the most common type of people we tend to connect with, they can be hard to identify.
Who exactly can be classified as a peer? Is this your family friend who was in the same class with you in school?
Or perhaps your colleague at work who is in the same department/team as you?
One way I tend to identify my peers are people who are in similar stages as me in their lives and share the same value as me.
Here are 3 ways to connect with these people:
Old is Gold: sometimes we go too far looking for new friends. Why not rebuild your relationship with your childhood friend who lives in your city and perhaps understands you more than most. Seek old friends who you can continue to grow with.
Meet-up Groups: join groups with people that have similar interests. This could be online like Facebook Groups, MeetUp app or even offline like fitness groups, book clubs etc. The key here is to identify people who don’t just share the same interests but are facing similar challenges in life. For example, first-time mums etc.
Colleagues: If you have a full-time job, then it’s useful to connect with colleagues who are in a similar life stage as you. For instance, I connected with a few people in my last job that were looking to set up their own businesses.
3. Our mentees
These are people who look up to us. They include our younger siblings, students we teach, entrepreneurs we coach, teenagers we mentor and staff we manage. Sometimes we overlook these people and don’t invest enough time in helping them achieve their dreams by sharing invaluable information with them.
It’s very rewarding to connect with people who will draw out information and skills from you. The biggest challenge to connecting with these type of people is being able to be humble. You won’t be able to bend down and pick up an empty can of drink if you are so fixed on who’s watching you. In the same manner, you won’t be willing to connect with people you can mentor if you aren’t humble to lower yourself down to understand them and help them in climbing up in their respective journey.
This is one of the types of connections that takes much effort and willingness. Why? Because it’s all about giving. You may not get anything in return.
However, you need people who you can pour your knowledge and experience into. The more you give to people, the emptier you become, which is great if you’re someone looking to grow.
Having knowledge and skills without sharing will leave you unhappy and stagnant because you would begin to feel like you know it all.
But when you have said or given all you have, you begin to look for more.
To connect with these people (your mentees) here are a few tips:
Charities: Being involved in charity is a great way to give back to the community. This could be your skills or even your knowledge, without wanting something back in return. Doing this you can build a good relationship with people who look up to you.
Looking Around: Sometimes all you need to do is look around to find people who aspire to be where you are. Do you have higher grades in school? Do you have a job that you love going to every Monday? Etc. Facebook groups now offer mentorship tools to help you discover a mentor.
Recommendation: Ask family and friends if there’s anyone who’s struggling to accomplish what you have accomplished.
Now, you don’t have to actually spend 33% with each group of people. It all depends on the season of your life. Sometimes you need to spend more time with your mentors and less time with your peers. Other times you need to spend more time with your mentees and less time with mentors, and so on..
I don’t believe we were created to live in isolation, so in order to draw closer to your dream, you need to make a conscious effort to spend more time with the people that matter.