If you want to see where you are going, just look at the people you are hanging around.
It is inevitable in life that once you set and start pursuing big goals you will leave some people behind. It won’t be because you think you are better than they are; you will because you think you are better than you are. That’s why you have set goals that cause you to step outside of your comfort zone, to elevate your thinking. The people you will leave behind are those who don’t even think--let alone step--outside of their comfort zone and they don’t want you to either. That type of thinking isn’t based on age, income, profession, or geography. It is a mindset that limits their thinking and aspirations. That mentality falls into three categories:
The “Reality show” mentality: These are people who spend all of their time finding out and telling the dirt on other people. Every family, community, workplace and church has people like that. (As Bernie Mack used to say, “If you say your family doesn’t, it is because you are the person.”) They deal in drama, always have and always will. It is just a matter of time before you get caught up in their drama, so you have to leave them behind. Indeed, “crabs in a barrel” is the best way to describe them.
The “Victim” mentality: It’s the thinking that regardless of what they do, the system is designed to keep them down. As a result, they don’t even try. Now I’m not naive enough to think that there are not people out there who are racist, sexist, etc. I grew up in the Deep South, so I have experienced many racist people and been in racist situations. Conversely, there have been many people who didn’t look like me who sponsored and opened doors for me. The reason you have to leave people behind with the victims mentality is they will do everything in their power to discourage you from thinking and reaching high. They want you to live in the “Real world” with them. When you experience success, they will say things like “You forgot where you came from,” and “You think you are better than us.” Neither of which is true. Again, you just wanted to be better than you, not them.
The “Turf” mentality: It is the opposite of the victim mentality. This type of thinking consists of people building barriers around their turf and don’t want anything different to enter it, especially different thinking. It is this type of mentality that causes so many large, successful organizations to miss the next wave of innovation. They are inwardly focused and spend so much time protecting their turf that they don’t realize that it is getting smaller. Anyone within their turf who dares to think differently will be pressured into conforming. You have to leave them behind or you will become a Stepford Wife.
Leaving people behind, especially ones you have known a long time and who are close to you, is never easy. Take comfort in knowing that you will reach back and bring along far more than you left behind. It takes the courage of one to inspire many more in life and in business. The first person you have to leave behind is the old you. To that point, you are moving forward because you know there is a better you.