Part 11: Building Your SUPPORT Systems

Review: INTRO,
GETTING READY & Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , 8, 9, 10

So you now have your well-designed goals—fantastic!

You also have your plan of action to achieve them—hooray!

You even have your achievement-management system set to keep you on track with that plan—bravo!

What could possibly get in your way now?

Actually, 6,692,030,277 things (the world’s current population), or at least those people whom you circulate with regularly.

This reminds me of the title for one of Connie Podesta’s books: Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t for Other People. So true, so true.

Your associations are one of the most powerful influences (I will discuss the most powerful influence on Thursday) that determine whether you will stick to your goals or get forever derailed.

Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University concluded after 25 years of research that the choice of a negative “reference group” was in itself enough to condemn a person to failure and underachievement in life. Whoa! Scary, isn’t it?

His discovery indicates that your reference group is more important in determining your success or failure than any other single factor.

“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. Influence is so subtle that it is like being on an inner tube out in the ocean; you feel like you are floating still, until you look up and realize the subtle current has pushed you half a mile down the shore.

Jim Rohn explains: “You will become the combined average of the five people you hang around the most. You will have the combined attitude, health and income of the five people you hang around the most.”

In the worksheets, I am going to have you do something very frightening: I want you to determine the five people you hang around the most and then total up the numbers. You will see clearly that the company you are keeping might be what’s standing between you and what you want to achieve.

Sound harsh? Sometimes the truth is harsh. Yet, I know you already know this. How do I know? Because you vigilantly guard with whom your children associate. (You do, don’t you?) Why? Because you know they will become like those they hang out with.

This isn’t just true for your kids—it’s true for you, too!

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.” —Mark Twain

If you are really going to go for it, if you’re going to reach, stretch and do things you’ve never done before, if you are going to be able to achieve things you’ve never achieved before, you will need to reappraise and reprioritize the people you surround yourself with. These relationships can nurture you, starve you or keep you stuck.

Jim Rohn taught me that it’s powerful to evaluate and organize your associations into three categories: dissociations, limited associations and expanded associations.

Before I send you off into the worksheets, let me give you a brief description of each category:

1. Disassociations There are some people you might need to break away from completely. Think of your children: What friend(s) do you have that if you were your own parent, you wouldn’t let yourself hang around because of their influence? Cut them loose.

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, 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.

“If you want to fly with the eagles you can’t continue to scratch with the turkeys.” —Zig Ziglar

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, businesses and health clubs where these people are and make friends with them. Create a circle of excellence by purposefully selecting those with whom you will surround yourself.

I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t suggest the resource that Achievers Read. One of the best ways to expand your associations is through SUCCESS magazine. 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 (you are a subscriber aren’t you?!). 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.

Invest in Mentorship Isn’t it interesting that the top performers in the world have the highest-paid coaches and trainers? Which comes first? I can prove getting the top trainers, coaches and mentors comes before achieving breakthrough performance. Having people who push you to excel is critical, regardless of how successful you are. That’s why those at the top still invest heavily in their trainers and coaches. You can never pay too much for someone’s well-earned experience and guidance. They give you the advantage of the shortcuts they’ve discovered. Their road map identifies the landmines so you can avoid them. Their hard-earned wisdom can help you accelerate your growth.

You’re never too good for a mentor or coach. During my interview with Harvey Mackay, he told me, “I’ve had 20 coaches, if you can believe it. And that’s not a typo. I have a speech coach, I have a writing coach, I have a humor coach, I’ve got a language coach, and on and on.” And he’s a top achiever, respected business leader and best-selling author!

Download and complete the YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM Worksheets. (NOTE: Sent via the e-mail feed. If you are just registering now, it will go out again with the next feed. E-mail feeds typically go out in the evening following the published post.)

In a future post outside of this series (as well as in a book I am writing), I will explain the process of getting a Peak-Performance Partner, how to develop a personal board of advisors, and how to set up and recruit super-achievers into a Mastermind Group.

Are you courageous enough to make the necessary changes to your associations? Share your plans and convictions in weeding the garden of your sphere of influence.

In the next installment, I will give you the resource that is going to give you the fuel you need to keep you going all year… and all decade.



48 responses to “Part 11: Building Your SUPPORT Systems”

  1. […] As Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine explains, “your associations don’t shove you in a direction; they nudge you ever so slightly over time.”  He recommends that you look at the people in your life and split them into disassociations, limited associations, and expanded associations.  Make sure that you are spending the majority of your time with people that are in the expanded associations category.  (He describes this further HERE ) […]

  2. Hi would it be possible to email me the owrksheets as I have juyst found this site after reading the Compound effect


  3. Darren, you are doing a great job! I respect you and the leadership you are providing to all of us.

    [DARREN HARDY] Thanks Todd! :)

  4. Darrern,

    I love the program and thank you. Unfortunately part 11 has made me realize I really don’t have any associations (friends) outside of immediate family and work. My persuit of a career has left me alone. Its quite depressing and my apoligies for a sour reply. I don’t even know where to start? what kind of club to look into? I know Jim Rohn says that friends are paramount and I agree. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    [DARREN HARDY] Join clubs/organizations that are made up of the kind of people you want to associate with, Anthony. I like organizations that are not primarily “networking” organizations – Country Clubs, symphony organization, museum associations, etc.

  5. Darren,

    This lesson reminds me of a quote I really like:

    “Birds of a feather flock together”… Most people don’t know the second part of the quote “…and they are all going in the same direction”. According to this, its seems our direction in life will be influenced by those we hang around with the most.

    [DARREN HARDY] Exactly Jeffrey! Thanks for the great quote reminder. :)

  6. Wow, almost caught up. Judging from the comment section there sure seems like a lot of .5%ers. That’s a good thing. Nobody is in this on their own. There is lots of support from peers and soon to be mentors. BTW, Thanks Darren for doing all of this to help us. Once again, another sign of support for those that are looking.

  7. Okay, first an admission – I live in a place that I had intended to be temporary, although it has turned out to be more permanent than I ever imagined (can you say, “wake up call”).

    Bottom line – I don’t have five real friends that I currently spend any quality time with outside of work to put on this list.

    As pathetic as that sounds, I see it a little differently – I have a clean slate on which to build quality positive relationships with quality people who are of a like mind and are the kind of people that I am looking to become. I am choosing to view my situation as a distinct advantage, and get to the business of actively building a powerful, positive, and uplifting support system.

    Most excellent!!

    [DARREN HARDY] Way to turn the situation around in a positive light and being building an amazing foundation! Kudos Rich!

  8. Hi Darren,

    This is a great exercise, and something I did a few years ago, and I something I keep monitoring (i.e. my circle of influence). However I did learn that during this process of grouping people sometimes we dissociate some people “thinking” they are a negative influence (this could be ego driven), but overtime they actually become a very positive influence. Any thoughts on this?


    [DARREN HARDY] You know if someone is a positive or negative influence. Of course everyone can teach you something, but you only have so much time and so many people to contribute to – pick the best you can, your future depends on it. Put it this way, would you want your child hanging devious hoodlum in the hopes that over time they might be a positive influence?

  9. Darren,

    I was looking at the question and comments of last weeks review where you told a young man to start a business based on his strengths. I believe that to be obvious and sound advice; however, what if you don’t like your strengths. What if your strengths have got you what you got and that is what you are trying to change. For instance, my weaknesses are that I have a difficult time making connections and friends. The problem with this is that I would like to become a successful real estate agent which is a large part about making lasting relationships. I want to do this because I do believe that learning salesmanship actually makes you a better person. You learn to connect with people and become interested and curious about the world around you if you do it right. This is a skill that I have not mastered. Any suggestions for a guy that is not naturally there but has plans to be a member of the top 50 realtors for the area in the next 10 years.

    Thank you in advance for your help with this question. I cannot begin to thank you enough for this program.


    [DARREN HARDY] If you goal requires a skill set that you are weak in – you need to go to work on improving that… or find a profession that utilizes your unique talents and strengths.

  10. I can say from experience that having a mentor makes all the difference. I would always just try and read my way through things and figure them out myself. However, I find that just reading does not factor in the emotional side of business.

    I started communicating more with my mentor and joined his mastermind group. I had all these questions and the members were there to help me answer them, whether it be about how to market or how I am feeling. They have all been there and done that and they let me know its ok to feel the way I do. It is just growing pains and after I build up my confidence, the pain will go away.

    As Jim Rohn puts it “It hard to pay the price if you can’t see the promise”. That is when it hit me! That’s when it all made sense to me. Having a mentor and support group shares with you the promise so it’s easier for you to pay the price.

    I have goals and I have opportunities in front of me. It wasn’t until I took this course did I figure out how I can combine them and plan for the best 10 years of my life.

    Thank you Darren. I am now excited to see where my future will take me.


  11. At last I asked 360 quesetions to three people, which require big courages, and yes, they were very helpful information. I counld get many insights of myself and gap of recognitions about me between myself and them, my weakness which I tend to avoid to see or didn’t noticed. Yesterday I finished all works which took 4 days, which threatened my job time and rest time. I noticed I was “fragmented” in my life. Now my mind starts to pursue my target strongly, which requires big risk (for me).
    But if I didn’t do them, why I am here now?
    Thank you very much Darren, your detailed and careful suggestions enables me to take this difficult staps.

    [DARREN HARDY] Good for your Maki! You have now separated yourself from 99.5% of everyone else. Now it’s up to you to work your plan!

  12. This is such an amazing process! The posts are so full and “juicy” thought-provoking! Thank you Darren!

    While I read your new posts/watch the videos as they are released, I am one of the folks who started the course after Jan 5. So as I’m completing segments, I’m still reading and following along with the previous posts and comments. A sort of “delayed real-time” reading if you will. You mentioned that once the course is over, everything will be taken down. Is it possible to provide an archived access of everything to participants, perhaps even just for a month, so as we complete a segment, we can still refer back to the relevant post or video? This has and is all so valuable and beneficial and there is something more effective about reading the post connected to the work as completed. Yep, working like crazy to catch up, and working on some BHAGs at the same time. Want them both! :-)

    So thankful I decide to jump in with both feet on this!

  13. Thanks again Darren!

    Just finished reading and taking notes from:

    Success March 2010
    Success Bonus CD March 2010

    Great issue (as always!!!!)

    Especially the Jim Rohn tribute from both!

    As well, I just registered my own website this morning per Jeffery Gitomer (what great advice!)

    To our greater SUCCESS!
    Jeffrey Neubauer


    [DARREN HARDY] You are doing great work Jeffrey! You are gaining more and more advantage in life!

  14. I’m looking forward to learning more about the Peak-Performance Partner, the personal board of advisors, and creating a Mastermind Group. I have enjoyed going through the process with this group of people and hope there will be a way to continue to support and motivate each other when the series ends.


  15. I have a question regarding having a mentor and a mastermind. I have done business and personal coaching with someone I really respect and this has really helped me a lot. My question is should I join the current mastermind group when I already have a lot on my plate and limited funds? I have my current job, I am doing taxes and trying to get my own business off the ground and I am also sitting for the CPA exams that I plan on passing this year.
    Thank you for you answer and I love success magazine and this journey of the best 10 years.


    [DARREN HARDY] To add something you have to delete something else. Figure out what’s your highest priorities and stop doing somethings in order to make room for more important priorities.

  16. I feel like a missed the boat with the Achievement Management System. My daily, monthly activities don’t seem to fit nicely in the Weekly rhythm sheet. I might not be chunking it in little bites. Should I redo them?

    I feel like I am behind because I stuck on this exercise. Any advice on how to make it a little more simple and workable. I tend to get wrapped up in the details and try to put more into the activity and then don’t accomplish a lot.



  17. I can’t say enough about how impacting this matterial has been and will be in the near and not to distant future. This stuff I will keep as resource material for years to come and even pass it on to my children. I am well behind on the home work but I will not give up nor give in to the naysayers and negative nuges of the well meaning influences around me “Never give up, Never surrender”! Changing the influencers will be challanging! Thanks Darran, and all your support staff too (and your family, bless ya!)

  18. This is going to be the hardest part for me. This is the area I need to concentrate on the most. I am the type of person that concentrates on getting the job done and not so much on interacting with others. I am reminded of my boss right now. Every one he meets is a friend and he takes time to talk with everyone that walks into the building. Has lunch with our vendors and will always have another job waiting if he needs it. I worked directly under him for a year and learned a lot. Now I am back in another department that has little contact with other people. I am more comfortable this way but feel I have made a huge mistake. The money is a little better but it is 6 hours of spreadsheets and computer work and less than 2 hours interacting with other people. I made a big step backwards for a few extra dollars. I just realized this today. It will take every thing I am learning to correct this.
    Thanks Darren for helping me realize what I need to do.

    [DARREN HARDY] Wow, what a revelation Susan. I am proud of you!

  19. me again! i typed in the code for he archeive and still had problems receiving part 10-11

    [MAGGIE SCOTT] I’ll be in touch soon to help you with the downloads. Are you using the password located at the bottom of the most recent email installments?

  20. HI Darren
    Tryed downloading part 10 -11 but nothing happens. please could you kindly e-mail the code for the archeive

  21. Jim Rohn you were right !

    i knew it all along , people nuge you every day in a direction you have no wish to go , i see it in my office, the directors training young people , that are just starting out, with the same stuff, they were taught, and they have no idea, that what they are teaching them , will take them down the same road, with no escape, and whats even worse, is if you say something , they look at you as if to say what do you know !, well guess what , i am taking the road less travelled, thanks to Jim Rohn & Success Magazine of Course, and on my way , i am showing the younger ones there is a better way !

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

    Make Yours a Wonderfull week

  22. WOW! Another eye opening session for me. The first revelation was that after following your instructions to exclude family and my work interactions I couldn’t think of anyone to write down as a current association. Apparently, I first need to develop some associations before I can expand those associations. :) The second revelation was that the negative influences in my life right now are from extended family members. Since you can’t really disassociate from family, I haven’t figured out yet how to handle that one. Never the less, it was an interesting exercise to go through the thought process, just as the other assignments have been.

    Thanks again for walking us through this process. It continues to be very enlightening and helpful.

    [DARREN HARDY] Yes you can disassociate your time from toxic family members. You should always be pleasant and kind, but you do not have to extend your time or have them actively involved in your life. I choose who I will spend time with or even engage in extended conversations with – that includes those who happen to be connected to me by a family tree as well.

  23. Greetings of the day, Darren this is turning out to be great review of our past activities, and future planning. I am sure the coming 10 years will be the best for me, helping me to have more such Best 10’s in the coming future.
    Have a great day ahead. Manoj, Mumbai INDIA

  24. Darren,

    The moment I read the current instalment, that very instance I was convinced why I am today what I am–from working with the top one percent of the American decision executives to sub-sub zero social standing in a small town in my country. Everything has been wiped out in my life just because I associated with my parents. I could not remove them from my life because of my initial inability to discriminate between a needy and an opportunist and later because of insufficient psychological strength. Your writing made me just regret: why I did not know about this or read Success when I was in America.

    I was all the while working to rejig my psychological Self, all by myself, until you appeared. I have put my best. But recovery seems impossible. If I do
    stage a comeback, you will still never know how much effect your programme had on me. Much more than you can imagine. Thanks.

    I desire that you create a Success Club of motivated minds from amongst the current subscribers. We all came together because of you and I believe most of us will continue to stay together until we all reach our goals.

    [DARREN HARDY] That is an excellent idea, Deep. We will definitely look into the possibilities and keep everyone informed. Thanks!

  25. Every week gets better and better. The homework has been great.
    It has opened my eyes to the changes I need to make soon.
    I know doing the things I fear the most will create my success.
    My goals are BIG and my desire GREAT. I look forward to opening email
    on Thursday.

  26. Would agree with comment from snowy MN. I also would like to know how we can better focus in on our passion and appropriate businesses that we would be interested in. Guess it’s time to go to the library reference desk. However, if you have any good sources, I’m sure we would all be grateful to check them out. Thanks so very much. I’ve never seen so much great content GIVEN! Awesome. My profound thanks for your great contribution to all of us that have been blessed by your inspiring blogs/videos, worksheets, etc. Thanks again, Mary

    [DARREN HARDY] Mary, see my answer to snowy MN above.

  27. from the age of 8 i’ve been without a mother. from the age of 37 i’ve been without a father. now at 55 i came to the conclusion that i have to be the parent i wished i had up until now. and that is the most wonderful feeling because you hold yourself accountable to learn, grow, share, care just as you would for your child. so the inner child i am is getting the parenting she needs from this program to become the best parent she can be and thus be an example that growing up is not always hard to do. that’s why i can relate to the need to guard my associations as stated in this session so i don’t sabotage my growing up and all the fun things that are revealed. even when the tough times do come, i allow myself to feel down but for a moment, then do what needs to be done to get up and go on. thanks for this program it is far reaching in every sphere of my life

  28. Darren,

    First off, thank you for guiding us all on this journey. Like so many things in life, each step on it’s own seems fairly obvious and simple but one needs the overall plan and vision to achieve. I must confess that I have fallen off the wagon lately in the DB10 program. My struggle is that my goals and vision tend to seem too vague and do not encompass a concrete outcome. They say you should pursue your passion in life but, try as I might, I can’t narrow my wide ranging interests down to a passion to focus on. I feel as though I am on the top of the ski hill of potential but don’t know which run to take. Do you have any suggestions for further work or reading that may help? Again, thank you and regards from snowy MN.

    [DARREN HARDY] Too many interests, too many opportunities is a good problem to have Mike. Don’t let it perplex and paralyse you too long however. You might ask others around you what they think you would be great at and has a great financial future. If that doesn’t work, consult Ben Franklin and do the Pro and Con list on each opportunity. The answer will reveal itself.

  29. I have long known the importance of mentorship but in today’s world, mentors are hard to find. Many times those who one would want as mentors are too busy, not interested or want too much money/ It would do many of these leaders & desireable mentors to take a look at their lives & their successes (& failures) & see who their mentors were & how important they were to them. One cannot get more or become more unless they pour more of themselves out. Like the late Jim Rohn mentions about the law of sowing & reaping, it does not take sides & works the same for successful & soon to be successful people alike.

  30. Darren,
    This is awesome and supports my recent decisions these past few months, being careful who I assoiate with that has a real “negative” attitude about our current economy and who is forward looking and creative.
    It’s been a challenge for me in the mentor area because of my lack of confidence this whole project from start through tonight is building that needed courage to approoach some key people for assistance and coaching in some long sought after dreams and goals.
    God’s Blessings
    Ray Campbell South Dakota

  31. To all of you exceptional extraordinary people ~ Happy Tuesday!!!

    So this was HUGE…I had to recently dissocciate myself with a person I had been friends with for over 20 years…This was very hard…but this was a crucial step I had to make in my journey to where I see myself in my future…this person was a drain on my energy and wasa drain for a while…this opens up a space for a mentor or someone who I have not met yet. :)

    I would like to share something that Bill Phillips shared yesterday in his latest assignment # 6 called The Positive Mindset on

    ” You see, intention improves not only our state of mind in the moment we’re in, but it’s believed to make dormant forces come alive. Providence is said to move with the energy of intention. This is when opportunity knocks. Doors open and people come into your life to help fulfill the destiny your intention creates. And to bring this power into your own life, you simply start by being very careful about what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and what effect it’s having on both your present and future condition. So speak often of inspiration, love and gratitude, health and healing, and how you’re moving forward in a positive direction. The more you do, the more you will.”

    I do not know how someone who reads this will see this in their lives…but read it again and take a moment and reflect…has this happened to you??? It has to me, on more than one occasion…I am able to see that I have to let some people go to make room for others that have something very valuable to share with me….

    Thank you again Darren for a very thought provoking lesson!!! With the blogs and the videos at the end of the week…it is like you are right here in my home guiding me and giving me that extra nudge to keep moving forward!!! Looking forward to Thursday!!! :) ~ Kim Neal

    [DARREN HARDY] Awesome, thanks for sharing, Kim! :)

  32. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for DB10. The process has been helpful, and made me realize that I’ve been the biggest stumbling block in reaching my fullest potential. I liked the approach of breaking down visions and goals into action steps with intermediate milestones.

    Below are couple of the challenges that I came across while implementing the program:
    * Ten-Year Goals: My ‘Top 3’ ten-year goals are BHAGs. I’m having trouble chunking them down into action steps that I can implement today. Or should I make the Ten-Year goals as direct extensions of this year’s goals.

    [DARREN HARDY] Just work on chunking down your 2010 goals into specific action items. Keep your 10 year targets as more global intentions and the behavior modifications that are necessary to build yourself into your next decade being.

    * Monthly/Quarterly Reviews: Do you have suggested process (e.g., GTD weekly review) that you follow for reviews to track the progress. I think the periodic reviews and feedback loops are important reaching the ST and LT goals.

    [DARREN HARDY] What I review:
    Key Learnings
    What I need to do more of
    What I need to do less of
    What I need to stop doing entirely

    I look forward to attending your seminars in future. I enjoy the SUCCESS magazine. Many thanks!