Reference Group

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read” Charles “Tremendous” Jones

Reference Group

Noun. A social group which a person takes as a standard in forming attitudes and behavior.

Oxford English dictionary 

There is a popular saying in Spanish that my mom used to quote, “dime con quien te juntas y te dire quien eres.” It translates, ‘tell me who you are hanging around with and I’ll tell you who you are.’ The people you choose to spend the most time with become your reference group and I believe one of the biggest roadblocks to your success is the people you surround yourself with. You need to ask yourself, what does my reference group have me thinking? What do they have me doing?

Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University studied people’s reference groups over a 30 year period and discovered that 95% of our success or failure was determined by the people we habitually associate with. In other worlds, you could be doing all the right  things but if the people around you don’t support you, you are more likely to fail. 

“You need to surround yourself with people with the same goals and aspirations, not with the same problems” Dr. Denis Waitley 

Here are 3 steps to help you think about your reference group:

  1. Get clear about what is important to you and the type of person you want to be. Make a list of values that are important to you, how you want to be known, and what you want to achieve. 
  2. Seek out people are living the way you want to live. Who in your life do you want to imitate? Maybe it’s a boss, a teacher, a family friend, a business owner whose shop you frequent? Ask them out to coffee and pick their brain about how they are who they are.
  3. Choose who to spend your time with people who lift you up instead of pull you down. Finally, make a list of the people in your life. Separate those who encourage growth from those who encourage bad habits. 

I know there are people you are forced to spend time with regardless of the influence they have, people such as co-workers or classmates and sometimes even your own family, I know it’s hard to distance yourself from the people who don’t support you. If 95% of your success depends on it, don’t you think is worth it?

Thank you,

Rogelio H. Charles