Why You Must Surround Yourself With Winners

Article 2 of 52

I flat out lied to get my first ever marketing job. I don’t have a college degree. I told them I did. I knew I needed a degree to qualify as a candidate for the job. I lied in my interview and told them I graduated from the University of Colorado with my degree in broadcast/journalism. I’ve never even been enrolled at the University of Colorado, let alone have any type of degree from a major university.

When I applied for this job, I was shocked they even called me in for an interview. My confidence at the time in a professional sense was low. I didn’t know better. I didn’t have a measure on what type of value I could bring with a salaried type of job? I didn’t know my worth, therefore, I had zero confidence. By time I made it to the job interview I knew I had to lie about having a college degree. I was hungry, I wanted this opportunity more than anything, I was willing to do whatever I could to get a job that paid me a miserable $38,000 annually.

My point here isn’t to convince you I’m a good liar. I’m not by any sense of the word. It’s also not to boast about how I lied about a degree from a great school in which I don’t actually have. My point here is simple; if you want success and better opportunity, you have to do whatever it takes to get it. 99% of the time, you have to create this for yourself.


Fake It Until You Make It

I remember when I first heard the old saying “fake it until you make it.” If I’m being frank, when I was 18 and heard this saying it totally pissed me off. I didn’t get it. I thought “why do you have to be fake to become something?” - My 18 year old self was so young, stupid and prideful with so much to learn.

When I was interviewing to get my job, I was faking it until I got the damn job. I needed to act like I deserved to be there. I knew once given the opportunity, I would deliver.

Now I fake it with intention of making it all the time. This is one of the most important traits you can have as a successful person. When I break this saying down the meaning is very straight forward; "fake it until you make it" means to mimic those around you that you want to be like. When you get in the mindset of mimicking successful people around you, you get in the habit of successful repetition. You’re trying to mirror something that you haven't yet become. As we all know, change doesn’t happen overnight.. When you take on action like this, you’re essentially faking it until you make it.

Fast forward five years later. When I first became a business owner, I didn’t know what I was doing. Almost no first time business owner does. But when I spoke with clients and prospects I was confident I had a solution I could provide them with that would be of value. I might have been a little green in terms of business, but overall, my first clients had zero idea that I didn’t know what I was doing. I trusted myself to deliver. I was “faking it until I made it”. Now, years into this venture and three years into owning a business, I fully understand my company's value. I know longer have to fake it. It’s 100% a real thing. This all happened because I knew I deserved to be there.


The Formula Behind Sticking with Winners

This might be one of the most basic concepts to success that gets overlooked ALL the time. I hear story after story about how Co-Founders are now enemies and businesses are destroyed because “people don’t like each other.” It baffles me how you can venture into business with people you haven’t done your due-diligence on. Only do business with winners. No exceptions!

One of my favorite entrepreneurial mentors is James Altucher. In his book, The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth, he talks strongly about how you’re the average of the five people you spend your time with. Again, this is a simple concept that makes 100% sense. You are who you hang with… When I first started taking on this mentality my life truly changed. I’ll say that again, my life changed, not just my business.

So I ask you - Who are the five most people you spend your time with? For some maybe it’s their wife, or it might be stellar co-workers, or even potentially some high quality successful people. That’s the best case scenario… 

Or maybe you were like me when I first took on this mindset and you’re spending your time with friends who really aren’t going anywhere in life? You’re surrounded with people who actually don’t matter to your success. Outside of my wife (at the time girlfriend), I really wasn’t surrounding myself with meaningful relationships. I was wasting time with people who really didn’t matter.

Sometimes we don't always control who we get to spend our time with. I get that. But if you start to work at constantly surrounding yourself with winning people, even the ones in your life you might be 'forced' to spend time with are winners. 

When asked the question now “who do I hang with the most?” I’m proud of my answer. If you’re not ‘proud’ of your answer right now, then I suggest you change your surroundings ASAP. Even though I’m happy who I’m surrounded by doesn’t mean I can’t find new people to be around. I NEED to find NEW people if I don’t want to be complacent. It’s a key part of this formula. Once you surround yourself with FIVE great people, you’re not going to have that sixth person be a buster… Anyone new in your life at this point will be meaningful.

Who are the six people that equal out the average of who I am? Easy answer.

  • My beautiful wife and son

  • My Co-founder/Best friend - Jimbo Davis

  • GoEdison Employee/Friend - Shawna Linquist

  • Best Friend/Smartest person I know - Daniel Nice

  • My awesome mother-in-law (yeah I know, how cool!)

  • My (other business) Co-Founder/Life long best friend - Jeff Brito


Make a New Introduction Today

When you surround yourself with winning people who have winning attitudes and confidence you can expect to be uncomfortable at times. Actually, if you’re not a little bit uncomfortable at times you probably need to find a new crowd. The people I now surround myself with are honest, direct and hold me accountable. They don’t allow me to get complacent. I’m always forced to improve. The want and willingness to always get better is key. 

If you’ve read this far, I’m going to believe you have a winning mindset. I’m also going to ask that you do something today that makes you uncomfortable. Let me explain….

When you force yourself into uncomfortable situations it forces you to grow. I ask that you reach out and make a connection today with someone you would consider a winner. This could be someone you personally know that you might not keep in regular contact with, or even better, this could be someone totally random that you respect from afar. Maybe a local thought leader, CEO, professor, etc… Go out there and make a connection. Take the first step and make an introduction.

Earlier this week I was explaining to my Sales Account Manager at GoEdison why I like cold calling. I told her I like cold calling companies because I don’t like cold calling. Sound confusing? I actually hate cold calling companies, it scares the shit out of me. The reason I like it is because it forces me to make a direct and cold connection with someone who has no idea who I am. I don’t have a pitch, script or anything old-school like that. All I have is 15 seconds to come across as genuine. When I cold call, it forces me into a “growth situation”. It makes me uncomfortable.

Stop reading this blog now. Email someone you could learn something from. Introduce yourself to someone you want to learn something about. Cold call someone and randomly ask if you could get their email and send them a survey about their job and learn more about what they do… When you put yourself out there opportunity will always find you.

If you want success and growth, you have to run with a crew that has what you want. The formula is simple. Winners win and losers lose. Start creating your winning team today.

Oh yea... Real quick, back to the story about me lying in my job interview. Two years into the job my CEO found out I didn't have an actual college degree. I felt embarrassed he found out I lied. He looked at me and said, "thank you for lying in your interview. A degree is just a piece of paper. We're glad to have you here." It was in that moment, at that particular job, I knew I made it. I also knew in that exact moment that college degrees are bullshit, unless you're a lawyer or doctor. 


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