The Fastest Way to Rise to Greatness

I always marvel at the way some people seem to rise from ground zero, to leading and dominating their market in a short amount of time. It seems as if their success is overnight, and almost supernatural. Sadly, others spend years toiling away, working hard and their progress seems snail-like at best.

It makes me curious about what goes on behind the scenes of people that level up their business rapidly.

Circus performers achieve greatness.

These circus performers achieve greatness in their art.

And I have to admit, sometimes I’ve looked at others rise to fame with feelings of envy when it seems like I’m doing all the same things, and making all the right moves, but getting radically different results.

These days I’ve gotten a lot better about not comparing my success to those of my peers. I realize that we’re all running our own race, and what matters is our competition with ourselves.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from the rapid evolution of others. I’ve become a kind of student, or mad scientist if you will, trying to find the common element that quickly elevates leaders to great heights.

Well, there’s one thing that I’ve found that may surprise you. It isn’t grit. It’s not genius, luck or even access to greater resources than average people.

Those that rise quickly to the upper stratospheres of their field are incredibly deliberate about the environments they place themselves in.

You may have heard before that it’s much easier to not eat cookies if you remove them from your cupboard (and replace them with healthier choices).

In the same way, it’s much easier to operate a higher level of genius, creativity and effectiveness when your environment makes it almost automatic.

If you surround yourself with world-class athletes, it will be hard for you to not become one.  If you go on a retreat where the only option is to create, it will be hard for you to not produce something groundbreaking.  If you wake up with a community of doers, leaders, and world-changers, it will be incredibly difficult for you to not embrace your own greatness.

So, what is it that you want to be the best in the world at? Do you want to create an empire, travel the world, or start a movement?

Deliberately surround yourself with people doing those things. Seek them out, befriend them. And above all, find ways that you can add value to what they are doing.

You may need to start small at first. It could just be drenching your twitter stream with leaders and high performers. Then you might start a weekly meeting with someone else doing what you want to do on Skype to conspire and encourage each other.

The next step might be moving to a place in the world where you’re surrounded with people that are in alignment with you are and who you want to become.

The more you do this, the more you’ll find that it’s impossible for you to not wake up and do great things.

This is the fastest way I know of to level up your work, and your life. If you want to become great, surround yourself with greatness. It’s the closest thing to making success inevitable that I know of.

Jonathan Mead is a coach, writer and barefoot runner helping people quit their jobs and get paid to be who they really are.

Photo courtesy of D’Arcy Norman. Creative Commons 2.0

What do you think? Do you surround yourself with doers? Share in the comments below.

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  • Sharon O’Day

    Love Jonathan’s writings and have been following him for some time. Environment does make a difference … and part of that goes back to the maxim that you’re (apparently) the average of the five people you surround yourself by. But I also think we need to honestly assess what we’re achieving with our supposed efforts. As he says, “… when it seems like I’m doing all the same things …” The operating word is “seems.”

  • Lauren Greenstein

    It seems to me that this article speaks more about the fastest way to rise to fame or to success. You do not have to be famous or successful to be a great person. It is true however that if you want to be successful you do need to surround yourself with successful people, and maybe to “surround” yourself with them via the internet reading about them, learning from them, and receiving advice from them…

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