John Maxwell’s 11th Law of Leadership (The Law of the inner Circle) states that your potential in life is determined by those who are closest to you.

strength_in_numbers_smThis goes way beyond closeness in terms of physical proximity to those who you feel emotionally connected to, as well as look up to, respect or admire.

Another way of putting it, is who are the travel companions you are bringing along with you on the journey of life?

Either the people closest to you will be the wind beneath your wings or the anchor on your boat. They will either bring you higher or drag you down.

The Message version English translation of the Hebrew Old Testament in Proverbs 13:20 states:

“Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”

Just being talented or passionate is not enough. You are only as good as the quality of those people who you relate to best and identify yourself with. To achieve anything of lasting significance or value will depend on having highly capable and gifted people around you. Those people around you in your inner circle should not be just like you. In fact they should have a different perspective to you, but they should share the same values.

As John Maxwell likes to say, “We don’t have to be all alike, but we do have to like one another.”

Who are the people that you listen to the most? Who do you tend to take advice and suggestions from? Whose opinions do you weigh up and reflect on before making a decision?

Once you have reached your capacity in time and energy, the only way you can increase your impact is through the time and energy of others. The greater the quality and calibre of those who you allow in your inner circle the greater your impact will be.

Because of technology we also have the potential to connect with some of the greatest thinkers as well as most experienced people in the world through the written word, audio and video. We may not have a 2 way relationship with them, but we can access their wisdom and experience. However, we have to be intentional about this.

When we looked at the Law of Intuition I mentioned one piece of wisdom that I have found enormously helpful that relates to something said by Ken Blanchard. When I first heard his advice, I initially was repulsed by it and everything within me wanted to disagree. Only after having gotten it wrong on a number of occasions and being hurt in the process, can I say I agree with him. Blanchard’s advice is to never allow anyone into your inner circle who does not give you a positive emotional feeling in the first 90 seconds of meeting them!

Does that surprise you? As I said it was enormously surprising to me as well. The key is the inner circle.

If I am going to work closely with others there has to be a strong sense of collaboration and chemistry between us if we are going to work at our optimum level. I do not want to be walking on egg shells or having to second guess what the other person is thinking before I share what is on my mind. In the past I was much more optimistic about human nature, believing that if I was reasonable and cooperative enough, the other person would change. Now, because of mistakes I have made in the past, I am very careful about this. Life is too short to have people in my inner circle who I don’t like or dread being with.

How does the law of the inner circle apply in your life? Is there anything you disagree with about it?

It would be great to have your thoughts and comments.