Maybe the sole purpose of television is to make us feel like losers.
I know I’ve definitely felt like that before.
Every time I turn the channel, there’s a new commercial for a car that I don’t have, a new reality show shot in an exotic location that I’ve never been to or some movie with a gorgeous girl that I’ll never meet (don’t tell Sara).

Social media is the exact same way.

How many times have you caught yourself clicking through the Facebook profile pictures of a “friend” (whom you’ve never met) at 1:37am, and getting at least a *teeny* bit jealous because they seem to be living a much more exciting life than you, full of better-looking people and more money?

AND THEY’RE ALWAYS ON VACATION. DEAR GOD! Why are all their pictures from vacations?

Who’s giving these cruises out????

This type of stuff used to really bother me for 3 reasons:

1.) I felt like I was “behind” for my age. At 24, I had close friends who were moving up the corporate ladder quickly and making what I thought was big money. And other friends who were doing really cool, exciting work getting doctorates or professional degrees

I didn’t want either of those, but I couldn’t help feeling like a dweeb talking to them sometimes. When they asked me what I was doing, all I could really tell them was that I was still “working at the restaurant and trying to figure things out.”

2.) I felt like nobody had my back. I knew I wanted to start my own business(es), but I didn’t have any mentors to give me solid advice or a step-by-step action plan. I didn’t have anybody close to me who knew the ropes and could help me if I fell down. I wanted someone to tell me “do this, then do that”.

Unlike the corporate world or graduate school, there are really no guidelines or “best practices” for entrepreneurship. It’s pretty much a shit storm you have to figure out yourself.  That’s why it’s so scary.

3.) I felt like I was in a vacuum. I was really the only person I knew in “real life” who wanted to be an entrepreneur. All the people at the places I worked at…they just wanted to clock in….day after day.

I wanted to meet other people like me.

People who were driven to get more from their lives and really wanted to create something new.

People I could bounce ideas off of and wouldn’t make me feel “weird” for wanting to brainstorm or talk about personal development.

I always knew that if I was able to fill my entire life with the type of people that I wanted to be like, success was pretty much guaranteed. It’s just common sense.

Why? Because humans almost ALWAYS fulfill the expectations that are set for us — whether the expectations are set by ourselves or others.

This is why stereotypes work.

I taught college admissions prep (SAT, ACT, etc) for many years and I can tell you that there’s a statistically significant impact that stereotypes have on the way minorities and women feel about their math abilities. It has nothing to do with IQ — which varies from person to person.

The real answer is much simpler: If you’ve been told that “statistically-speaking”, you’re going to perform worse than your classmates in a certain subject…guess what happens? You often do.

The expectation is there and your brain fulfills it. It’s not magic, it’s science.

Stereotypes can create positive expectations for you to fulfill as well.

If you’re in a family full of professional athletes, the expectation is that you’ll be good at sports and probably go pro. And what ends up happening? You see multiple generations of the same family play professionally year after year. Look at the Manning family in the NFL. Think they’re all just “genetically gifted”? That’s a prime example of expectations + years of training at work.

So for the past four years, I’ve busted my ass to connect with other entrepreneurs who are doing amazing work. I’ve gone out of my way to build mentorship relationships with startup founders, millionaires and high-performers in all fields.

Why?

Because I was sick of feeling JEALOUS of people who were doing well.

I realized that if I wanted to become one of them, I had to do whatever it took to get into their peer group.

And I did. But It definitely didn’t happen overnight.

There’s a process you have to learn when approaching successful people. But when I was able to finally cultivate a sizable community of super-high-value people around me, I noticed something incredible: it was almost impossible to fail.

If I had a question, doubt or fear, there was a pre-built community of people around me who actually WANTED to help me. If I didn’t know which way to turn, there was a mentor on speed dial for almost any problem I encountered.

And above everything else, there was a new level of expectation put on me by those I had surrounded myself with. They just expected me to be doing well, and I didn’t want to let them down.

Turns out I had the makings of an entrepreneur in me all along ?

Building that community of friends and mentors was the ultimate tool to kick my progress into warp speed – and probably the biggest reason I was able to move from a day job to self-employment so quickly.