Five January 25, 2010Posted by Chuck Musciano in Leadership.
I had the opportunity to hear Don Yaeger speak about the elements of greatness last week. It would take weeks of posts to share everything he said. His talk was eloquent, moving, and inspirational. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, do not miss it.
Don spoke about his relationship with John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach. At 99, Wooden still mentors Don on a regular basis. Don was kind enough to share some advice from Wooden, involving the lesson of five.
Yaeger noted that if you want to know your child’s GPA, don’t call the school or ask your child. Find the GPA of their five closest friends, and your child will most likely be in the middle of that range. If you want to understand the morals and ethics of someone, understand the morals and ethics of their five closest friends. If you want to understand the business philosophy of someone, learn about the business practices of their five closest business associates. You get the idea.
Wooden instructed Yaeger to take a sheet of paper and make three lists. In the first, list your five closest personal friends. In the second, list your five closest business associates, and in the third, your five closest partners in service, such as your church or Rotary.
Now examine each list. Do these people want what you want? Do you aspire to be like them? Do they share your dreams and reflect your morals and ethics? Will they help you get to where you want to be, either personally, or professionally, or in service? Would those people put you on their list?
If so, strengthen those relationships and make sure you give back to them as much or more than you are getting. Recognize the value of that group and grow it to your mutual benefit.
If not, why not? Have you chosen poorly? Are you maintaining bad relationships? How long will you maintain connections with people that will hinder your ability to become great?
This is a simple but powerful exercise. These close relationships define us, and we are often too busy to give them conscious consideration. Good or bad, we need to create and assess these lists on a regular basis. We want to surround ourselves with people that will challenge us to be better. And perhaps more importantly, we should live our lives in a way that others will want to have us on their lists, too.
Have you made your lists?