Workaholics Anonymous—A 12-Step Program of Recovery and Personal Transformation (Step 5)

[Index: INTRO, Step 11b233b4566b7899b1010b1112]

In Step 4 I reminded you of the importance of being selective with the input you allow to feed your mind. It is a never-ending battle to stand guard against input that can derail your creative potential. Controlling the input that gets into your head has a direct and measurable impact on your productivity and outcomes.

The next most powerful influence I’d like to introduce to you is one that is more far more subtle and imperceptible; thus can be even more detrimental. This influence is the power of your associations.

Jim Rohn tells us we become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most. The people we spend our time with determine what conversations dominate our attention, and what observations, attitudes and opinions we repetitively are introduced to.

Eventually, we start to eat what they eat, talk like they talk, read what they read, watch what they watch, treat people how they treat them, even dress like they dress and think like they think. All the while you might not even be conscious of it.

“Associations are both subtle and powerful.” —Jim Rohn

Your associations don’t shove you in a direction; they nudge you ever so slightly over time. The influence is so subtle it is like being on an inner tube out in the ocean, feeling like you are floating still, until you look up and realize the subtle current has pushed you a half mile down the shore. The rest of that Jim Rohn lesson is this: You will have the combined attitude, health and income of the five people you hang around the most.

**FREE Gift: As you have probably surmised, my association with Jim Rohn has had a profound influence on my life. I’d like to offer every reader of this blog a gift. You can go to Jim Rohn’s Web site, where we set up a free download of his 60-minute talk, Leading an Exceptional Life. Click here for the free download

So, what IS the combined average income of the five people you spend most of your time with? Does the answer frighten you? If so, the best way to increase your own potential for income is to spend the majority of your time with people who have the income (or whatever trait) you desire to have.

You will then see the power of influence work for you, rather than against you. You will learn what they read, how they talk, how they observe circumstances around them and their resulting attitudes. You will start to eat what they eat, exercise like they exercise, and treat people as they treat people. You will start to see all of the behaviors and attitudes which ATTRACT that level of success and income to them, and by doing the same, (creating the same causes), similar outcomes will occur for you.

As Jim Rohn suggests, evaluate and shift your associations into 3 categories:

1. Disassociation
There are some people you might need to break away from completely. You guard against the influences your children are exposed to and the people they hang around with. You are aware of the influence these people could have on your children and the choices they might make as a result. This same principle should apply to you.

This might not be an easy step to take, but it’s essential. You have to make the hard choice not to let certain negative influences affect you anymore. Decide the quality of life you want to have, and then surround yourself with the people who represent and support that vision.

“Don’t join an easy crowd. Go where the challenge is great and the emotions are high. Go where the expectations are so strong that they provoke you, push you, and urgently insist that you not remain in one place. That way, you will grow and change.” —Jim Rohn

2. Limited Associations
There are some people who you can spend three hours with, but not three days. Others you can spend three minutes with, but not three hours. Remember, the influence of associations is both powerful and subtle. You get a deposit of the dominant attitudes, actions and behaviors of the people you spend your time with.

Decide how much you can “afford” to be influenced, based on how those people represent themselves. This is difficult, I know. I have had to do this on several occasions, even with close family members. I WILL NOT, however, allow someone else’s actions or attitudes to have an indelible influence on me.

3. Expanded Associations
Whatever area of your life you want to see improvement in, find someone who represents the success you want, the parenting skills you want, the relationship you want, the lifestyle you want, and spend more time with those people. Join organizations, clubs, businesses and health clubs where these people are and make friends.

One of THE best ways to expand your associations is through SUCCESS. Each month we present you with today’s most extraordinary achievers, detailing not only what they have achieved, but how they did it, and most important, how you can too. These ideas are further detailed and made available on, and there is a treasure trove of mentors and their best resources and strategies for success in the SUCCESS Store. Build up your library of expanded associations.

I hope you find this blog to be a valuable association for you. I hope it is challenging your thinking and offering you new insights to your own potential for success. That’s my goal! Even if it is just reminding you about things you already knew and are simply bringing them back to the forefront of your mind, this will be an invaluable relationship for you.

IDEA: Develop your own personal Board of Advisors. As part of my plan to think more, be more strategic, and operate more effectively, as well as expand the time and interaction I have with high-minded leaders, I am developing a personal Board of Advisors. I am creating one for SUCCESS as well as one for my personal life.

Each will comprise a dozen people hand-selected because of their area of expertise, creative thinking ability and/or my great respect for who they are. Once a week I will reach out to a few of them and solicit ideas, run thoughts by them and ask for feedback and input.

Having started this process I can tell you the benefits I have received have been profound – far more than I would have anticipated! It’s surprising the genius people have locked inside that just requires your sincere interest and inquiry. I recommend doing it yourself.

Follow Darren behind the scenes of SUCCESS:

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  1. Brian Bartes says:


    Great post, my friend! You have hit on one of the keys to success: hanging around great people, and avoiding the toxic people. This is something almost every kid hears from his/her parents…but it’s an even more important lesson later in life!

    Here are three questions to ask in relationship to our associations:

    1. Who am I relating with?
    2. What effect are those relationships having on my life?
    3. What actions will I take immediately to grow relationships with the people who are supporting me, and reduce or eliminate those that are not positively impacting my life?

    Keep up the great work, Darren. You’re awesome!

    ~ Brian

  2. Charlene says:

    …never mind….there was a hiccup in the electricity at our house and it downloaded fine!

  3. Charlene says:

    Darren, the link to Jim Rohn’s mp3 does not load properly. My “geek” husband said I have all the add-ons for Real Player…but it still will not load properly…suggestions? Thanks…and thanks for an incredible magazine and CD/DVD! Has made a HUGE difference in the lives of my organization.

  4. Cyril says:

    Thanks for your blog.
    I have always been an ardent reader of Jim Rohn’s articles.They have been so wonderful.
    Once again, thanks

  5. Darren says:

    I’ve been a reader of Success Magazine for about a year now and really look forward to every edition. Thanks for all of the great articles of inspiration and hope.
    The dual disc is a great bonus Too!
    Darren Royal

  6. Alvin B. says:

    Hi Darren,
    I am a subscriber to SUCCESS magazine and I think your kindness and giving personality will be the reason for the magazine’s success! Thanks so much for what you do, the download will be appreciated by all.


    Alvin Brown

  7. Gary McElwain says:


    Thanks for the Jim Rohn link. I’ll be listening to this in my car in the morning.
    And your board of advisors, reminds me of the mastermind group Napolean Hill talks about in “Think and Grow Rich”.

    Thanks again

    Gary McElwain

  1. [...] committed to that same behavior and habit patterns. Period. (Read this article or this one or this one for more and here’s a free Association [...]

  2. [...] [Index: INTRO, Step 1, 1b, 2, 3, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 9b, 10, 10b, 11, 12] [...]

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  4. [...] I have disassociated from and limited my association with several people who were affecting me negatively. (In Step5) [...]