“Matt, you just aren’t the type of person that makes those around you better,” I was once told…. while I don’t like to swear, all I can think is “f*ck that guy”.  I’ve never been more insulted in my life.

That’s Bulletin Board Material

I should pin that quote up in the locker room, or frame it in my office, because every time I think of that, it motivates me. Our Under30CEO speaker Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.com recently told our crowd in New York to make themselves a “wall of negative reinforcement.” While it’s not everybody’s style to pin up their competition’s face and throw darts at it, it certainly works for me.

Demand More from the People Around You

Think of the five people who you spend the most time with. Like it or not, that’s who you are most like. If you aren’t spending your time with quality people, the quality of your own life is going to suffer. Take a good look around you and ask yourself if your friends are holding you back and if so, how you are going to fix that. In fact, forget holding you back, are your friends the type who will make you better at everything you do?

I’m not saying that all my friend’s are at the top of their game in every single category. Yes, I’ll be your friend if you are down on your luck, but the people I am closest with have a mutual understanding that we are in this together, and we’re going to make each other better.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fire Your Friends

If someone who you have respect for is not living up to your expectations as a friend, or does something detrimental to themselves or others, let them know. I’m very non confrontational by nature, but my friends know, and especially my best friends, that I will tell them how I feel if they are letting me down, for the good of everyone around.

This fall I fired my gym partner. Plain and simple, he was holding me back. If I have to give you a Vince Lombardi speech every time we go to the gym, you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain. That’s weak.

I Want To Be Surrounded by the Best

I want to be the best at everything I do. I don’t talk about it much, because I don’t want people to think I’m pompous or holier than thou, but I think it all the time. I want a gym partner who’s going to motivate me, put me through the ringer, teach me about new methods of training and push me to be the best. I aspire to perform like a world class athlete because I think it’ll make me better at all aspects of life, including business.

By the way, since firing my gym partner, I’ve absolutely crushed all my old plateaus. It’s opened me up to a whole new world of training, I’ve learned tons from working with people with Olympic level knowledge and I am not slowing down anytime soon.

If You Are Going to Do Something, Do It All Out

One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received was that I was the only person in the world that gets pumped before every single thing I do…even to play Madden… I was thrilled. Whether you are working out, doing business, answering emails, partying or going surfing, you might as well go at it 100%. Exuding this type of energy makes life that much better and people feed off of that.

Audit Your Friends

I realized that I had a huge problem taking care of my personal finances. I used to hate paying bills, never used to properly budget and would get charged fees because of my own carelessness all the time. That’s pathetic for a businessman and I decided to make a change. To master this area of my life for good, I called my best friend, and at the time, gym partner. We agreed to sit down once a month, scrutinize each other’s finances and hold each other accountable. Now, I have to make a formal presentation and show him where every cent of my money went. When he runs up his AMEX bill, I know about it; when I go over my minutes on my phone bill, he’s there to yell at me. It takes a tremendous amount of trust, but having a commitment to an accountability partner has created incredible results.

I Fired Him For That Too

December came around and it was time to audit each other before the holidays. I took care of all my deliverables, budgeted properly, saved a ton of money and completely owned that area of my life…Unfortunately, it looks like my personal finance partner isn’t living up to expectations…

“The holidays are a terrible time to start budgeting and work on your finances,” said his text message canceling our monthly audit session.

Is this the type of person I want to hold me accountable? I don’t think so. My tongue in cheek reply… “We need a break. We can still be best friends, but this year I’ll be asking Santa for a new personal finance partner.”

Brutal? Yes. Because we have the type of friendship where I have to be? Absolutely. I want my friends to be committed to what they say they are going to do.

New Year’s Resolutions are a Fallacy

Everyone knows that. If you are going to make a resolution, make it now. If you are going to get your finances and fitness in order, don’t waste your money / get fat this holiday season. Have some sense about yourself. Have some self control.

I love the kid and he’s an amazing friend, just not the person to get me to the next level in these two areas of life. I hope that by writing this post, you’ll take a look at the people around you and be honest, with them and with yourself.  Ask them the tough questions. Urge your friends to want more out of themselves and make your friends ask more of you… As for my friend, maybe this will be his bulletin board material, because he’s not making me better right now.

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO and for those of you wondering, this friend is not @JaredOToole, nor did he fire him.  Connect with Matt on Twitter @MattWilsontv.


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