‘Surround yourself with only people who will propel you forward in your business‘ – is it a great practice for your business or just plain elitism and excuse for bullying?
This has been sitting with me for some months now and I am finding there is a very fine line between this practice, to help boost your business, and blatant elitism. And elitism sucks. Big time.
I have come across this theory of ‘Surround yourself with people who will propel your forward in your business‘ many times in my business networks. Though unfortunately I am seeing some people taking it a tad too far and its now looking like elitism and discrimination.
And you may be thinking, who wants to surround themselves with toxic people, right? I’m just building my business boundaries and aligning myself.
I am not talking about toxic or harmful people (who usually just need a bit of energy work, counselling and a great big hug) I’m talking about people in business with an average earning capacity who may not be huge money-making or status ranking ‘successes’. And this theory when applied to business networking doesn’t quite sit right for me.
And I have to ask – How is it actually put into practice? How far do you take it?
To what extent? To what exclusion? And at whose expense?
But business is business? You do what it takes to succeed.
As I see it, we are currently in the middle of a female movement within the business community and it’s exploding in size. Within this community they/we pride ourselves on doing business using all of ourselves and not just the old school value of ‘business is business’. That we, as women no longer need to do business like it always has been done. So to me the ‘Surround yourself with only people who will propel you forward in your business‘ could sound like a female version of the old pattern of elitism. That’s now just sugar coated and deemed acceptable.
Taken too far and this practice can be a form of silent bullying.
According to keepyourchildsafe.org social exclusion is a form of emotional bullying. By merely ignoring, not acknowledging or excluding someone from a group (networking) situation is relational agression, which starts its pattern from school age. ‘Girls are the ones who most often use exclusion as a form of emotional bullying. In fact, it’s been noted that this type of group exclusion is “a very basic way in which girls exert power over each other.” (ibid, p.8)’ and ‘It’s silent and often invisible, yet also powerfully destructive for those youth who experience it. It can take the form of ignoring someone, openly excluding or isolating a child, rallying other students to dislike a child, or giving someone a cold shoulder and the silent treatment; but in every form, exclusion is a type of social rejection. – When it continues, social rejection is probably the most dangerous psychological condition – both for the individual and for society.’
And it’s this pattern from childhood behaviour that then trickles into adulthood and can taint business circles and friendships. A great book called (wait for it) ‘The lasting effects of relational aggression on women’s friendships with other women, including their relational capacity for others and themselves: A qualitative approach.’ By Claudia D Legarreta is an amazing research paper of how relational agression plays out in womens friendships and circles and how it is actually impacting society as a whole. Legarreta describes relational agression as ‘Behaviours that harm others through damage (or threat of damage) to relationship of feelings of acceptance, friendship or group inclusion.’
If you were to enforce this practice in your business networks, how does it work?
Imagine this, you are building your business on the theory ‘Surround yourself with only people who will propel you forward in your business‘, you are earning great money, you are doing what you love and you are associating and networking with the ‘right’ people… what if someone or a few people come into your business network who are great at what they do, good to the world in general but are not high in the business social ranking or earning great money.
Do you let them in? Do you see their worth?
Or do you feel like they would be no use for you or your business? and if so, do you cull them or exclude them?
My belief is that its not only those that are successful that can propel you and your business to success… ANYone has the potential to propel you and its what you learn that’s important.
To be honest, it is your capacity and drive to propel yourself to succeed.
By creating a network purely on this practice is like creating a bubble for your business and trying your hardest to avoid anything ‘not as successful as you’ from intruding into your success sanctuary. Challenges are our biggest learning curves and no matter how much you try, you cannot avoid them in business or life.
It seems that there are many flaws to practicing this theory…
Here are 7 things to ponder when considering to use the theory of ‘Surround yourself with only people who will propel you forward in your business‘
1. Remember you at some stage in your business will be or have been a ‘normal average’ business owner and someone let you into their circle.
2. If you hold onto to this belief so tightly doesn’t that mean that your ‘next level’ goal of successful people will not see you successful enough for them? What if you are excluded?
3. You are missing out on a whole heap of people to learn from. Everyone is your teacher, everyone holds nuggets of wisdom for you.
4. Your life is not a bubble. Burst it and see the rainbow of colours of different people out there who are also doing their thing. You can meet people who can teach you what to do in business AND what not to do in business. Allow every experience to inspire you!
5. How can you relate to most of your clients if you exclude people on another level? Wouldn’t you be creating an ‘us verses them’ even within your own services?
6. Being successful in business doesn’t equal being successful in relationships. It may become lonely at the top.
7. Dont be a bully. Don’t discriminate and elitism sucks arse.
And I am going to apologise right now to anyone who I may have done this too in the past, believing I was doing good business. (I cant really think of any, but maybe subconsciously it was created)
We are all put on this planet together. Compassion, inclusion and equality can go hand in hand in business.
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