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Many long-time readers know this, but for you new readers of my column I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for 23 years. In the end it was meth that got me. Not only was I using meth I was dealing and making it. As late as December 2003 I was actually seeing shadow people. I lived in an abandoned apartment. And at the worst of it, I stayed awake for 30 days straight and weighed 150 pounds. Not good for a 6’2” man.
Today less than seven years later I would consider myself successful. Now I don’t pretend to tell people what success is, because I think each of us has a different view. Kind of like when you ask a DJ what professional means. For me, money is not how I judge success, but when I look in the mirror am I happy about the person who looks back. As a side bonus, it is nice when others can look at me and say the same thing.
Over the last seven years I have spent much time studying success. And maybe I should qualify that statement even farther. I spend a lot of time studying successful people. And it has been my experience that you can look at a person and tell if they are successful or not. I am not saying this can be done at a glance, but pretty quickly.
See they all have similar characteristics. And contrary to some beliefs you don’t have to be born into success, look at my story I was at the lowest of lows not long ago. You can learn some of these patterns that successful people have, and if you implement some of them you too could have a good chance of raising yourself up your personal success ladder.
From time to time I have been asked how I have made this goal or that goal happen. And I can trace almost every one of them back to one of the first key of success I learned. You are your environment.
What does that mean exactly? Well environment in this case can means both physical and mental. However you station yourself in life it will affect your potential for success. Now sometimes you may think don’t have complete control of your placement. But there are always things within your control. None of what I am about to cover is easy. But if you are not where you want to be today, you should probably consider a change.
First let’s consider the people you surround yourself with. Who are the people you hang with? Of course you can choose your friends and not your family. Oh how I wish I could pick my family sometimes. (LOL) But realistically everyone else is fair game to change.
I started implementing this key around early 2005. See I had just finished my first DJ convention and I saw this speaker named Mark Farrell, and I said to myself I need to get to that level of excellence, thinking back I actually think he looked like he enjoyed his life, he looked successful. I looked around and found that none or very few of the current people I had in my circle of friends were heading in the same direction. They were all content at just living life as it came to them, not reaching out and taking life by the horns and making things happen. That was not ok for me.
So step one in this key was to make a list of people that I thought were the “get its” This didn’t happen overnight. But pretty soon I knew who I wanted to know. This is where networking skills come into play. I didn’t wait to get invited to anything; I physically placed myself close enough so that if I heard of an opportunity I would ask to join in.
But just joining in isn’t enough. You have to participate. This may be the toughest part. See you have to take a risk. But avoidance of risk is the greatest risk of all. Somehow you have to add to those opportunities or you won’t be asked back. See no matter where you are in your walk through life, you always have something to add. Even if it’s to add something say not to do.
Adding new people in the circle is not enough. You must take even bolder steps. You will also have to remove people from your circle that suck you dry. The truth is you only have so much time in a day. And people who are not helping you, well they are taking valuable time in your life. This is not to say you have to remove all those type of people from your life. You will need some downtime, but if you are trying to become successful in life, most people you attach to yourself need to be like-minded people. This particular success key probably has had the most dramatic effect of any success keys I have ever worked on.
Let me give you an example from my DJ life that might resonate with you. There are many DJ chat sites out there. In other words a place where you can meet other likeminded people.,, and more I have not been to. Now I have spent time at these sites. But the one that has propelled me the most was This is a pay site, which automatically narrows the playing field because, let’s face it, unfortunately the majority of DJs out there think free is enough. My experience says otherwise. Not to say that you can’t get thoughtful responses on other sites, the truth is there are a lot of DJs who are not interested in advancing themselves on those sites. But when you decide to invest something, in this case money well that changes things. I am not sure that I have met a person on that is NOT interested in advancing themselves.
Like I said the hardest part of this success key was the action part of removing people in your circle that aren’t helping you drive forward. After 6 years of adding likeminded people, I have found that this new circle of friends really have become more than just tools for driving my success. They have become real friends, people that I can count on. People that I can talk to about all parts of my life. But the best part of all of this, is when I look in the mirror I am happy with who I see.
Good Luck and great Shows.