How do the people around you impact your success?

March 6, 2013
Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg credits her spouse selection as being a huge part of her career success as well as her success as a wife and mother. During an interview she said, “The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.” Considering she spent the past four years as COO of Facebook and is one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley, she might be on to something.

After hearing this, I caught myself analyzing my own relationships. And I’m not just talking about my ex-boyfriends. Been there, done that. I thought about the people I surround myself with, my friends, my family and even my co-workers. How does their level of support impact me? Sure, I choose the people I spend time with, but are they adding value to my experiences? Am I adding value to theirs? These people I spend all my waking hours around determine what I dream about, what I collide with and the changes I make in my life. Their morals, choices and values all reflect the person I am and my future self.

So, how do you recognize the types of people who can help foster your success? Or better yet, how do you recognize when you need to make a change? Maybe it’s time you surrounded yourself with people who challenge you or cause you to think differently? I don’t claim to know the answers to these questions, but hopefully my ideas help you surround yourself with the best people you possibly can.


We all know people who walk around like a living, breathing resume. Everyone they know is their competition and all they really care about is their job title. It’s exhausting being around people who are always trying to one-up you, or out-do your achievements. When you mention your own successes, can your significant other or friends just be happy for you? Or do they always feel the need to bring up their own accomplishments?


Think about the person or persons in question. Does he or she understand delayed gratification? Sometimes in order to succeed, you have to forgo certain things along the way to achieve what you want. Maybe it involves some late hours at the office for you to get to a point where you have more flexibility in your position. Or working an extra job to fund a trip to Europe with your friends. People who experience sacrifices in their career and life can be more understanding when you must make difficult short-term decisions to position yourself for a strong future.


After the day is over, does the person in question simply ask about your day or do they check-in on how your pitch went? If you’re anything like me, you regularly talk about the highs and lows of your position with your closest friends, family and significant other. Someone who pays attention to who’s who is scraping more than just the surface of who you are. This person is clearly paying attention to where you’re going in life and might be worth keeping around

I’m really interested to hear your take on this topic. Is your partner supportive of your career? What about your friends and family? How does their support factor into your career?

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