Ethics and Integrity – #21 of 25 Traits of the Fearless Entrepreneur

Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. His rags to riches story played a large part in his work, which influenced others in the personal development industry.   Rohn once said “You are the average of the 5 people you
spend the most time with”. 
I agree with Jim.  Who you hang out with definitely rubs off on you.    
I have three distinct groups of people in my life.  First is my family.  Second are my close personal friends, who I also call the board of directors of my life.  Third are my business friends.
You don’t get to choose the first group.  I am really blessed with a great family.  Unlike many people who live with dysfunctional family situations, my own family is filled with smart and loving people who I truly enjoy being around and choose to spend time with.  
The second group is definitely a choice.  My best and closest friends here in Tampa are an eclectic group of people who share faith as our common bond.  We spend as much time with each other as possible, “doing life” together.  I also have mentors, mostly from my business world, who are very important to me.  I rely heavily on their input when I have choices to make.  Integrity is a core component of the character of those individuals.   And my inner circle, the people that I choose to spend the most time with, never, ever includes people that drain me.  
In the third group, time is my most precious commodity when it comes to business.   As a result, I look for people that are intellectually curious and I always choose to work with extremely smart, efficient people that I love to be around.     
If there is anything that gets in the way of
that, I take action.
I have
had two circumstances where I had to cut loose a relationship with someone that I loved working
with.  Both men were a brilliant contribution to my business.  Both were ethics issues.  Although I hated having to step back from both the business relationship and the friendship, If I had stayed in relationship with either of them, it would have had potential
legal and business consequences. 
You also have to make a decision when you have people in your life or in your business that drain you.  Anytime that drama overtakes logic or reason, I have to take at least one step back from the relationship.  In business, most often, I sever the relationship entirely, as drama is a symptom of a more serious issue.  In business, drama plays out in excuses for not getting things done or in constant complaining.  These are both a cancer, especially in an entrepreneurial venture where every single penny you spend counts and every minute of your day has to propel you forward, not hold you back.
You will have nothing to fear if you surround yourself with people of the highest personal and business ethics, where integrity is a given in your relationship.  You don’t always have to agree.  But make sure that they are smart, fun people who challenge you.   When you leave the room after being with them, see if you feel drained or energized.  Go for the energy every time.  
If you missed the beginning of the series:
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