Your Top 5

Years ago, my friend and mentor told me that my income would be the average of the top 5 influencers in my life. Take the top 5 most influential people in my life, whether through direct or indirect (an author or speaker) relationship, add up their incomes, divide by 5, and that should be my income. Well, I could never quantify that for obvious reasons, but the idea has stuck with me to this day.

I’ve thought more about that statement and agree with it in concept. It stands to reason that if these are the top 5 influencers in my life, then I would tend to think and act somewhat consistently with them, thereby gaining similar outcomes, and thus financial results. 

But let’s go further.  Income is nice, yes. But, what other things that are really important, and how can we apply this principle of influence to help us in a similar manner?

For example, if you want to be a better father, check the top 5 influential father figures in your life. Who are they? Perhaps one of them is your father. In truth, don’t most of us learn about marriage and family through our parents – whether good or bad? Who else? Perhaps a neighbor or uncle or even a coach or pastor. But let’s go deeper, what father figures have influenced you through the television? If you grew up when I did, it was Mike Brady, Archie Bunker, Bill Cosby and Al Bundy.  Not judging here…but who would you want your son influenced by most?

Think about it. We tend to behave on the basis of our paradigms – the perspective from which we view life.  And we try to change those behaviors, often with the same paradigm.  The easier way is to change our paradigm, which will lead to a change in behavior.  Our perspective or paradigm is best changed by changing the way we think, which is most influenced by those around us – back to our top 5 influencers. 

So here’s the challenge: Where are you looking to improve? What is important to you? Your career, your marriage, your parenting, your health, your finances, your leadership? Take out a sheet of paper and list your top 5 influencers in those areas. Be honest – by thinking about who is getting into your head daily and how they do it. While many get there though direct influence, so much comes from indirect means – books, music, TV, movies, etc.  Write out the list. Then determine if the thinking of those influencers matches what you want. If it does, keep it up; if it doesn’t, change the source.

It’s really as simple as that. Find the 5 people you’d like to influence you – in whatever matters – and get around them as often as possible, through whatever means is available. Today’s technology makes this easier than ever before.

Go ahead, write the list. And begin the change.