The one thing all successful & happy people do

Over the 25 years that I was in practice as a financial advise, I conducted discovery interviews with several hundred people, where they told me their personal story. I have also had the privilege to hear the personal stories of a similar number of professionals from the fields of financial planning, investment management, law and accounting. On top of that I have read literally hundreds of biographies of political, business, scientific and charity leaders. The common characteristic of the most successful people that I have met and read about is a surprisingly simple one; choose carefully who you have around you. Being intentional about the company you keep makes a lot of sense.If you are a squash player, you can't improve unless you play an opponent who is better than you, to make you 'raise your game'. If you employ people who don't have the right attitude or capability to do the work that you can't or don't want to do, you won't be able to delegate. If your social circle is full of people who are pessimistic, negative, defeatist or cynical, then it will drag you down.

Whether it's a 'friend' that drags you down, an employee who can't perform or a relative who sucks the life out of you, either cut them out of your life or reduce their involvement in it.

Finding, cultivating and maintaining meaningful personal relationships with the right types of people is an essential activity that should be an essential priority for all people who want to live a meaningful, fulfilling and long life. By all means seek out people with different backgrounds, education, and opinions, but try to ensure that they are optimistic, positive, capable and excited about the future.

Clearly it is not possible to have deep relationships with more than a handful of people, but it is possible to develop meaningful, positive and supportive relationships with between several hundred people, if you are intentional it. The easiest way to do this is to develop a mindset of giving rather than expecting to receive anything.

A month ago, when the sale of my stake in advice business, Bloomsbury Wealth, went public, I was staggered by the number of positive, supportive and encouraging messages of support I received from people I had met over the years. Some of these people I hadn't seen for a long time. However, they felt compelled to contact me after hearing the news of my departure because of something that they felt I had done for them. Whether it was listening to their challenges, inspiring them to greater success, championing their profession or sharing my own successes and failures (and I've had plenty of those!), they felt a connection to me.

So as 2015 starts to near its end, have a think now about the company that you currently keep and whether it is conducive to your own happiness and success. When you've worked out who you really want in your life, have a think about what you can do for them, which they will value and appreciate. Do this regularly and consistently and your own happiness and success will be assured.

Warm regards


PS The picture above was taken at the launch of the second edition of my FT Wealth book in November 2014. On the left is John Golding and on the right is Anna Pollins; both lovely people who have been very supportive of me over the years.