“A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him or her.” 

– John C. Maxwell

Have you ever heard the quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn is often credited with that saying, which has been repeated by any number of today’s most influential leaders, including John C. Maxwell, Ed Mylett, and Craig Ballantyne to name a few.

In fact, this is the very tenet of one of Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: The Law of the Inner Circle, which states that a leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him or her. And it also ties in closely with his Law of Magnetism, which declares that who you are is who you attract. In other words, in most situations, you draw people to you who possess the same qualities, values, and priorities you do.

While these concepts are often discussed in the context of business, they apply to success and significance in any and every domain of life—whether that’s getting into better shape, eating better, being a great parent, improving your spiritual fitness, and so on. In other words, if you want to experience tremendous success and make a real significant impact, you need to surround yourself with incredible people who help you maximize your full potential, and vice versa.

To do that, you need to need to increase relate well to others, which is as simple as…

  • Valuing people every day – You can’t look down on others and build them up at the same time. Recognize people publicly, complement them in writing, and practice gratitude daily.
  • Making yourself more valuable to others – The quickest way to improve any relationship is to make yourself better so you have more to give others.
  • Putting yourself in someone else’s world – Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” Often, the best thing we can do for someone else is to recognize when they’re in a time of need and being present for them.
  • Focus on giving, not receiving – To foster great relationships, you have to want more for people than you want from them.
  • Being a consistent friend – Place a high value on your relationships, believe the best of people, and love unconditionally.
  • Creating great memories for people – Wherever you are, be there. No matter how big or small the moment may seem to you, you can make them special for others by being present and intentional with your time, thoughts, and actions.
  • Moving towards the kinds of relationships you desire – Put yourself in position to meet and spend time with the kind of people who share your values and priorities and who think positively.

As Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, the authors of Peak Performance so eloquently said, “Working to build a better self almost always means working to build a better community.” Simply put, emotions, thoughts, and habits are contagious. We were made for relationships, and we all need other people to live our lives to our full potential. Place a priority on loving people, seek to add value to them and their lives, and when you do, the better your life will be.