I always underestimated the value of culture. Culture is created by the people you surround yourself with and the environment you are in everyday. Look around you. Are the 4-5 people you spend the most time with, pushing you to strive harder? Or are they restricting you in more ways than one?
Whenever I listen to the interviews of successful founders, I’ve noticed that they will always mention one of two things. Books or people. They will talk about books that have impacted them or mention coaches who motivated them and helped them stay positive.
My dad grew up in a middle-class family in India. By his own account, he had a very average childhood and education. Although considered bright by others, he had no real interest in academics.
This changed when one of his uncles forced him to have a reality check and motivated dad to work harder on his grade 12 scores- important in India if you are applying to colleges for higher education. Not having any ‘real’ mentors, even in college and then multiple jobs after, my dad slowly and surprisingly, turned to books. He now proudly says, ‘I have so many mentors, many of them I have never met!’ He is talking about mentors like Robin Sharma, John Maxwell and Robert Kiyosaki.
His belief made me reconsider who can be a mentor and who could create that culture of ‘drive’ around myself. My dad is now a successful entrepreneur based in Dubai. He has clients all over the world and has traveled to nearly 100 countries in his short lifetime.
Culture means surrounding yourself with a number of motivated go-getter’s. And, if you don’t have that around you, because of your circumstances, it means surrounding yourself with books, motivational quotes and role models who you can look up to. I have only recently begun to understand the value of this engaging environment and hence, am always looking to add new people to my inner circle of friends and family.
It is not always easy to break out of your comfort zone. We all have those friends who are kind and generous, but whose dreams have stalled. They don’t believe in the world anymore, and hence don’t believe in themselves. I’m afraid to admit, how much those people scare me. I am not brave enough to let go of them yet. Maybe I never will be. However, my greatest fear is that if I spend too much time with them, I will become like them. I may not be able to live to my life’s highest potential.
Which is all the more reason, why I am grateful to the New Dentist Business Club and the culture of winners it is creating. I recently read that when your company is very small, it is easy to get to know each other and build a culture of dreamers like yourself. When more people are added to the mix, and you begin to grow, CEO’s often worry if those values will remain consistent. ‘Will the culture scale?’
The answer is yes. It can. According to Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor, it starts with you treating your direct reports or comrades well, and they doing the same for other members of the company. This is how your culture would grow and expand to include everyone.
So, look around yourself today. Tell me, who you see? Can you scale your culture? Do you need to create a new one? What are your circumstances like?