Birds of a feather flock together. It’s no secret that people tend to associate with friends and coworkers who are just like themselves. Doing so helps us fit in and feel that we belong. Similar company also gives us common ground to bond over and limits disagreements. However, stepping outside of your normal circle to connect with people who differ from you has its perks, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Here are three reasons you should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are.
First, mixed company helps you grow. Just as people from different backgrounds and cultures bring varied perspectives and approaches to situations, so do people with different skill sets. People who’ve devoted an inordinate amount of study to an area can inspire you to do the same. If you find that a friend is well-versed on a topic that you have little experience in, let that be the spark you need to dive deeper into your craft. Take it as a challenge to better yourself and go on to energize other entrepreneurs to do the same.
Two Heads are Better Than One
Use smart people to your advantage. People with specialized knowledge are ideal candidates for generating innovative and useful ideas. Your friends may have ideas you’ve never thought of before. They may even be able to add to an unfinished idea and help you come up with an action plan to accomplish it. Instead of having to do all the brainwork alone, you’ll have the benefit of two heads instead of one. You can even return the favor by reversing the roles and offering help to your friend as a thank you.
People who hold skills that you are still in the process of developing make amazing mentors. Mentors can help you fill your gaps of knowledge, let you know when you’re on the right track and help you fix any past or future business mistakes. Because of the nature of mentorships, you can leave your ego at the door and enter the partnership with the full intention of learning as much as possible. Mentorships are meant to challenge you as well as serve as a safe space to discuss your fears, trials and next steps. If you find someone who is willing to fill a mentorship role in your life, seize the opportunity.
The word ‘smarter’ can mean many different things. The person you’re thinking of may have more entrepreneurial experience, cultural awareness, interpersonal skills, legal knowledge or advanced degrees/certificates than you have. Feel free to personalize the term to fit your business dynamic. And remember, we all have our strengths and areas that need improvement. Know that other people’s accomplishments can’t dim your shine. Fight the temptation of insecurity by allowing the people around you to contribute to your success. Use these three motivators as inspiration to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.