Surrounding yourself with like- minded people can be awesome. The encouragement you receive and the focus you’re able to achieve can be incredible. Because of this, I believe that surrounding yourself with like-minded people does matter. But there’s a danger to it as well…and a lot of people fall into it, because they don’t recognize it. They get stuck.
Like a lot of things in life, the thing that makes something so great, is also the biggest drawback. In this case, the danger is like-mindedness .
When you surround yourself with only like-minded people, it’s very easy to stop there and just surround yourself with people who agree with you because you all have the same beliefs, think the same way and do the same things. It becomes very easy to simply accept that something is true because enough of the people around you say it’s true and accept that what you believe is right just because people around you say it’s right.
Instead of wrestling with hard questions, you settle for token answers to token questions. Instead of legitimately asking questions that might challenge the way you think, the things you do and the things you think are possible, you let the beliefs of your group guide you and group think takes over.
You adopt their viewpoints, their mantras, their quotes, and their interests. You’ll see this behavior everywhere, from people in corporate, to politics, to sports teams, to blogging circles to social media. Instead of resulting in a thinking group of people constantly questioning “why?’ and searching for the best answer possible to all the hard questions, it’s very easy for your like-minded group of thinkers to turn into a nice little circle where everyone pats each other on the back. Keeping the peace with an underlying message of always remaining positive. Telling each other how good/smart/interesting each one of you are while insulating themselves from any type of dissent and ignoring the hard (and oftentimes legitimate) questions that other people have about the way that your group does things.
I’ve been around the block enough to know that it does not serve me well to hang around with people that are like-minded all the time. NOTE: I said ALL THE TIME! I have learned quite a bit from some of my like-minded friends. I am curious about the dynamics. I watch. I listen.
It serves leaders well to hang out with people with great minds, with open minds – who have different views, opinions, interests, and experiences– because that is how they learn and grow. And learning and growing is the name of the game.
Learning to be secure enough to be open to being challenged on their ideas, and even to be wrong some of the time. In my particular zone, I have climbed and caused rocks to land on my head. I should have listened to my guide who told me about the specific shoes I had to wear. Bad analogy, but I almost killed myself in my Prada boots. I got out that comfort zone fast!
Being confident enough to get out of that like-minded comfort zone and into a zone where you are going to be able to learn, grow and make a bigger difference is essential for growth.
So, when it comes to your career and your business, stop hanging out with just those like-minded people. Start giving yourself a chance to get out there, be a better leader and live a richer, more meaningful life.
"Life isn't about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself"… George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
Karen Anne Kramer