Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
That’s pretty accurate, I think, but my average would be way more than five. Especially when you consider that my posse includes my wife, our four kids (that’s five right there!), our podcast crew—Sefra, Dr. Johnny, Colonel Nye, and Marion Abrams—the folks who live and work on the farm, and our Spartan Race team. But, for the purposes of the exercise, let’s look those I spend the most time with.
First is my wife, Courtney, who leaves me in the dust when it comes to true athleticism. My success with obstacle and endurance racing is due to a stubborn streak a mile wide, but Courtney’s comes from natural talent combined with years of honing her craft. She went to Penn State on a soccer scholarship and, as captain, led them to the NCAA final four. Now she runs a wedding business while raising our four kids. We argue about whether it’s harder to give birth or start a business, but she shows me how to stay connected and on even keel while getting the job done.
Next are my children—Jack (11), Charlie (9), Catherine (7), and Alexandra (5). Having kids is like seeing the world all over again. They keep me on my toes. They’ve taught me that you can’t assume anything—you’ve got to communicate and find out what’s going on. Take my oldest, Jack. He was in a play for Chinese New Year and just stood on stage and did nothing. When his mom asked him why he froze, he wouldn’t answer; she thought something serious was wrong. Later, I found out that he was wearing pink bunny ears on stage and felt stupid. It was that simple and if I hadn’t asked, I would never have known. My kids remind me every day that you can’t take anything for granted.
Retired Colonel Tim Nye is a real-life Spartan warrior who spent a combined 32 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and Army. He’s done it all—Special Forces, Ranger regiment, tank battalion, artillery, Special Operations, more deployments than I can name, plus two master’s degrees and an entirely separate résumé as an athlete. Col. Nye has been trained to find a solution to any problem and never turn away from a challenge. He’s exactly the kind of guy you want in your corner.
Some people like to pretend they’re outdoorsy, but Sefra really is the real deal. She’s a nature expert who teaches Saprtans to live off the land. She’s one of those people who’s in tune with the natural world and it gives her a grounding and serenity that draws people closer.
Then there’s Dr. Johnny. Even with his wacky Canadian accent he’s still one of the smartest people I know. He’s a life coach and great at extracting the lesson in real-life experiences. Fans of the Spartan podcast have heard him crystalize each episode and glean the wisdom that will drive us toward success in life.
Finally, there’s our hardworking videographer, Marion Abrams. She’s the invisible person behind the camera who makes all our podcasts possible. Part artist, part journalist, part businesswoman, Marion takes what are often freewheeling conversations and transforms them into videos and podcasts appreciated by millions of people. She’s a terrific example of how being a multi-faceted artist can get the message out to a wide audience.
I’ve learned a ton simply by hanging out with these special people. They challenge me in the best possible ways to grow beyond myself and aspire to be like them. So who is in your inner circle? Consider who you hang out with most and ask yourself:
- Do they challenge me?
- Do they make me aspire to be a better person?
- Are they people whom I’d like to emulate?
- Does spending time with them foster personal growth?
- Do they inspire new ideas and new adventures?
If you answered no to most of these questions, it’s time to reevaluate your inner circle.
If you answered yes, then congratulations. You are on the path to success and continued personal growth.