Don't Let Those Closest to You Degrade Your Potential It really does matter who we spend our time and engage in conversation with.

By Matt Mayberry

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"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

"Show me your friends and I'll show you your future."

Whether you believe in those sayings or not, an absolute truth that entrepreneurs and business owners can never lose sight of is that it really does matter who we spend our time and engage in conversation with.

Related: Why the Five People Around You Are Crucial to Your Success

I believe in those two sayings, and here's why: I have lived it. I especially believe in the latter one, because when I was a complete mess and living in a dark, depraved world of drugs and low achievers when I was 16, that's exactly who my friends were. Then, when I was fortunately able to get myself out and hang around those who wanted to achieve greatness and not mediocrity, my life was never the same.

I now make it a point to hang around those who are more successful than me, doing bigger things than me and have just as big of a vision as I do. This simple shift in how I approach friendship and who I choose to spend my precious time with has been extremely beneficial to the growth and success of my business.

According to research by Harvard University social psychologist Dr. David McCleland, the people that we speak with every day and hang out with on a continual basis determine as much as 95 percent of our success or lack of it. Think about that for a second -- 95 percent!

Related: 7 Strategies for Dealing With Negative People

Whether you are wondering if the percentage in that study is correct or not, that's not the point. The point is who we chose to spend our time with. One of the first things I say to people when they come to me expressing how disappointed they are in life or how big of a rut they are in is to check their inner circles. This certainly isn't the case all of the time, but more often than not, it's a leak within an inner circle that has been sabotaging success and the opportunity to get to that next level of achievement.

The sad thing about all of this is that some of the most negative and energy-draining people in our inner circles are family or close friends. I have a very close friend who is on the brink of major breakthroughs in his professional life but hasn't been able to get over some hurdles that have been limiting his potential. He has come to the realization that this barrier has been his mother and father.

I'm not telling you to immediately get rid of your close friends or cut off ties with beloved family members. However, I am hoping that you start to take a really long look and analyze the members of your inner circle. Are they helping you become the best version of yourself, build your dream life and allow you to live in a positive and healthy way? If the answer is no to any of those key questions, I strongly encourage you to start looking to make some changes.

Your life is too precious to leave any bit of your talent and ability unused due to any negative people in your life.

Related: F, as in Forget, Those That Doubt You

Matt Mayberry

Speaker and Maximum Performance Strategist. CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises

A former NFL linebacker for the Chicago Bears, Matt Mayberry is currently a keynote speaker, peak-performance strategist and writer. As the CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises, a training and consulting company, he specializes in maximizing the performance of individuals and organizations all over the world. He published his first book, Winning Plays, in 2016. You can contact him and learn more at mattmayberryonline.com.

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