Who do you spend the majority of your time with? Do they have the same goals as you? How are they making you better? We should all ask ourselves these questions at some point in time and examine our circle of influence. The people we surround ourselves with can significantly affect us, even if we don’t notice it. Will Smith once said, “You can often tell how far your life and career will go based on the five people you spend the most time with.” I believe this to be very true. If we surround ourselves with people who only celebrate us and never challenge us, we will never grow. It took me some time to accept this concept and begin to examine my own circle. I didn’t want to lose my friends or seem as though I thought I was better than them but now I am very clear about who and what I want in my life. We need other people around us to make us better. People who aren’t taking things day by day or going with the flow. Without a powerful support group, you will feel alone on your journey to success and may become complacent with your current circumstances. If you are working towards success, ultimately, you should be on a mission for a circle of five that represents that success. If I want to be the best basketball player in the world, why would I spend the majority of my time with soccer players? If I want to be a great football player, why would my circle of influence consists of retail cashiers? It makes no sense to surround ourselves with people who don’t have the drive as us because they will not help us. I am not saying you shouldn’t be friends with them, but you should be mindful that you can’t do what they do and reach your goals. For example, if I am friends with someone and they are Muslim, and I am Christian. He can’t do everything I am doing and I can’t do everything that he is doing simply because we are walking two separate paths. The same concept applies with your friends. The people in your life- from your past and your present- make up your environment and they can affect who you are and what you become. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” This verse speaks volume to those looking to improve their life and go from being average to being great. Iron sharpens iron. Tough minded, ambitious people make the people around them tough minded and ambitious or they don’t surround themselves with them. Without a strong circle of influence we may become discouraged, distracted or lose our drive. A circle of influence builds us up when we fall and encourages us to not be satisfied the with the small successes and stop working for the big successes. Imagine a boxer without his corner team to help him out. After a round of getting knocked around he looks to his team to help fix him up and motivate him to get back out there and keep fighting. If his team lacked the desire to when they may tell him to quit and not help him as efficiently. We need our corner team in life to help us when life has us against the ropes. I hope from reading this you are able to examine your circle and make the necessary changes to assure your success.