Lenzy's Business Blog

Lenzy Ruffin is a family portrait photographer in Washington, DC. This blog focuses on topics related to running a business of any type, including a photography business.

You'll never outperform your inner circle

You’ll never outperform your inner circle.
— Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden

Divide a sheet of paper into three columns, one for each of your main social circles: personal, professional, and a social organization.

In each, list the names of the five people you are closest to within those circles.

Then, look at the paper and ask yourself:

  • Are they going where you're going?

  • Are they the kind of people you want on your journey to that place?

"If they're not, you need to scratch them from the list and create a new circle."

Use Professional Sports As An Example

Manage the people in your life the way a General Manager for a sports team manages the team’s roster.

If you’re going after a championship, having good players on your team isn’t good enough. You need great players. You can’t keep people on your team if they can’t help you win whatever championship you’ve defined for yourself.

You have to be constantly improving your team or you will continue to get the same results. And if you’re getting the same results while everyone else competing for the championship is improving, then you’re falling behind.

There are only 24 hours in a day. That means you only have a certain number of roster spots on your team. You can’t keep everybody. There’s almost no chance that the people you were spending the bulk of your time with when you were twenty are going to be the same people you spend the bulk of your time with when you’re running a seven-figure business.

Those people are not going to be able to help you get from where you are to that seven-figure business (or whatever your goal is) and they’re taking up the roster spots of the people who will.

Build Your Team Like Oprah

Oprah has the same number of roster spots on her team that you do (24 hours). Is your team—the people you’re spending the bulk of your time with—capable of competing with Oprah’s team?

Probably not.

But Oprah didn’t start with the team she has. The team she has is the result of her actively and perpetually managing her roster.

You can and must do the same.

Your options are simple:

  • Make the necessary trades and outright cuts that are necessary for you to get where you’re trying to go.

  • Or stay where you are.

And don’t forget that there is a game clock on this championship you’re pursuing. Life is too short to spend your precious, valuable, irreplaceable time with anyone other than the best possible people you can.

Suffer no fools.

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