Friends and Accomplices
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last week I wrote about the influence others have on our lives. Harvard social psychologist Dr. David McClelland states that our “Reference Group” or the people we associate with the most, determine as much as 95% of our success or failure. During last week’s episode of The Next Page podcast, Marisa suggested that this week’s email should be about Friends and Accomplices. Having taken the course Change Anything, Marisa knows the power Friends and Accomplices have on our lives. Please allow me to define these two groups as they relate to influence.

Friends are those in our lives who help us achieve our goals. If we are trying to lose weight, a friend is someone who holds us accountable. They may stop us from eating junk food or perhaps even ask us to exercise with them. They understand our goals and desires and want to help us succeed.

Accomplices are those in our lives who help us maintain bad habits or behaviors. Perhaps they come and gossip about others, or if we are trying to lose weight, they show up with food and always want to share it with us. They may also be encouraging us to waste time during the evenings or on the weekends. It’s not that they are consciously conspiring against us, they simply don’t understand that our values and goals have changed.

I recently had a conversation with someone about this very topic. Her concern was that her friends were holding her back. Their idea of a fun evening was continuing with the old activities, but she felt she wanted more in her life. Somewhat frustrated, she asked me what I thought. My answer was simple yet somewhat painful. You need to change your friends, or at least supplement them with people who share your passion for growth. She had grown, and her friends had not. She was now the smartest person in the group, and her growth depended upon finding a new group. But how?

Begin by establishing your growth plan. Next, you need to assess those closest to you and see if they are friends or accomplices. If they are accomplices can you transform them into friends by having transformation conversations? If you can’t transform them into friends, you will need to begin distancing yourself from them. This will naturally occur as your desire for growth becomes known.

Join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast as we take a deeper dive into this timely topic. If you have any questions you would like addressed, be sure to send them to Marisa at [email protected]