The Fastest Way to Level Up Your Business

Scroll down ↓

Today’s guest contributor is Jonathan Mead. Jonathan is a coach, writer, and barefoot runner helping people quit their jobs and get paid to be who they are.


I always marvel at the way some people seem to rise from ground zero, to leading and dominating their market in a short amount of time. It seems as if their success is overnight, and almost supernatural.

Sadly, others spend years toiling away, working hard and their progress seems snail-like at best.

It makes me curious about what goes on behind the scenes of people that level up their business rapidly.

And I have to admit, sometimes I’ve looked at others rise to fame with feelings of envy when it seems like I’m doing all the same things, and making all the right moves, but getting radically different results.

These days I’ve gotten a lot better about not comparing my success to those of my peers. I realize that we’re all running our own race, and what matters is our competition with ourselves.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from the rapid evolution of others. I’ve become a kind of student, or mad scientist if you will, trying to find the common element that quickly elevates leaders to great heights.

Well, there’s one thing that I’ve found that may surprise you. It isn’t grit. It’s not genius, luck or even access to greater resources than average people.

Those that rise quickly to the upper stratospheres of their field are incredibly deliberate about the environments they place themselves in.

You may have heard before that it’s much easier to not eat cookies if you remove them from your cupboard (and replace them with healthier choices).

In the same way, it’s much easier to operate a higher level of genius, creativity and effectiveness when your environment makes it almost automatic.

If you surround yourself with world-class athletes, it will be hard for you to not become one.

If you go on a retreat where the only option is to create, it will be hard for you to not produce something groundbreaking.

If you wake up with a community of doers, leaders, and world-changers, it will be incredibly difficult for you to not embrace your own greatness.

So, what is it that you want to be the best in the world at? Do you want to create an empire, travel the world, or start a movement?

Deliberately surround yourself with people doing those things. Seek them out, befriend them. And above all, find ways that you can add value to what they are doing.

You may need to start small at first. It could just be drenching your twitter stream with leaders and high performers. Then you might start a weekly meeting with someone else doing what you want to do on Skype to conspire and encourage each other.

The next step might be moving to a place in the world where you’re surrounded with people that are in alignment with you are and who you want to become.

The more you do this, the more you’ll find that it’s impossible for you to not wake up and do great things.

This is the fastest way I know of to level up your work, and your life. If you want to become great, surround yourself with greatness. It’s the closest thing to making success inevitable that I know of.

As Jonathan likes to say, what do you think? What did I miss?


About the author: Jonathan Mead is a coach, writer, and barefoot runner helping people quit their jobs and get paid to be who they are. He’s creating a high level mastermind to help people rapidly rise to new heights of success in work and life.

Join our Email List for Weekly Updates

And join this amazing community of makers and doers. You know you wanna...

31 responses

31 responses to “The Fastest Way to Level Up Your Business”

  1. I was saying something similar to a group just last weekend! We have to find ways to support our work, and that includes finding peers who are also engaged with their work. My peers don’t always have to be doing the same things as I, but they do need to be fully engaged and excited about what they are doing. That inspires and helps me.

    We all have work we are meant to do in the world. We need all the support possible to help us manifest this.

    Thanks for putting it so well.

  2. Jenny Shih says:

    I think you’re right-on. This is why I run with my husband and took B-School from Marie Forleo.

    It’s easy for anyone who is trained in a particular field to hang out with people they trained with. Although that’s great for camaraderie, it’s not great for growing a business. I see groups of smart, talented people staying small because they’re spending time with people at their same level.

    Your suggestion to start by filling up your Twitter stream is a great place to start, especially if this feel daunting or overwhelming.

    I also think that it’s more than just watching folks on Twitter or following their blog. It’s about analyzing what they’re doing and why it may be working. It’s about being open to experimentation and willing to fail. Everyone got to where they are by learning from others and failing themselves.

    Thanks for elegantly sharing this simple and important, yet often overlooked topic.

  3. Shane says:

    Jonathan — thanks for an excellent guest post, love it. It’s absolutely the truth that when we not only surround ourselves with others but surround ourselves with reading, thoughts, and the work of others that push us to that next level, it’s hard not to be affected by it.

    Love the Skype idea too. Thanks.

    Don’t think you missed anything here, although I would add that I also surround myself with inspiration not just from “people” in the physical sense but from their writing and teaching as well. Sometimes, that’s just enough to level me up.

  4. Jeff Munn says:

    Great post, Jonathan. I’d add one thing based on shortcomings I see in myself. I’ve put myself in groups (I’m in two communities right now that are not quite the same as you say, but do have inspirational elements to them) and I find a lot of value in them, but for me there’s one other key–

    Accountability for action. What am I going to do? When? How can the group help me to do that? What happens when I don’t?

    I love the “raise your game” aspect of these groups. But sometimes I think if I read enough, if I analyze enough case studies, I can get to where “they” are. Their success can be intimidating, and can defer action from me rather than inspire it. But often the only thing that “they” did was try a lot more stuff than I have. They put things out there. They weren’t afraid to fail. And they recognized and honored where they were in the process. A group that did that for each other, that supported each other on whatever path each was called to, and wherever they happened to be? And that called each other out to take those kind of risks? Wow–that, for me, would totally hit it out of the park.

    Thanks for a great post.


    • Kristen says:

      Hi Jeff
      Exactly my thinking. What’s the use of all the great input if we don’t balance it with some creation, no matter how small. Would you care sharing the kind of accountability group you are interested in?

  5. Scrollwork says:

    What your post made me realize, Jonathan, is that I’ve been coasting on the good feelings I get from being the encourager. The people I’ve surrounded myself with have gravitated toward me because they need my support, but they’re not at able to reciprocate yet by challenging me to reach further.

    It will take humility and a step of faith for me to quit “lurking” around successful folks and actually engage with them. I see now that it’s the direction I need to head toward. Thank you.

  6. Outstanding. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have surrounded myself with many of the top players in my space and it definitely takes my game up – in addition to increasing my credibility and visibility. Good for me as a professional and for my business.

  7. moonfire says:

    Thanks for sharing Jonathan and Jonathan. In the past 3 months a sm group of
    us began meeting once a week via phone. The synergy created is awesome. I concur with you of this importance.

    I was wondering if you are connected to Napoleon Hill’s concept of mastermind – your thoughts resonate of that.

  8. Marguerite says:

    Absolutely awesome!! I’ve always believed in this and over the past several months that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. This includes relocating 2000 miles away to be in an environment that is more conducive to what I do. It’s been uplifting, exhilarating, exciting, and transformational. I would highly encourage people to start doing that. It’s sort of a new spin on “guilt by association” and I love it!

    • Sounds like you found an environment that supports who you are. This happened for me when I moved to Portland at the beginning of this year. I’m glad that more people are deciding to deliberately create and choose their own communities.

  9. Sufiya Patel says:

    Loved this post as it something I can relate to. There were two groups I got involved with earlier this year and it changed the way I was viewing my career. However, the line that struck me in this post was:

    ‘And above all, find ways that you can add value to what they are doing.’

    I’m always on the look out for how I can support people in my groups. It helps the support the individuals that makes up the community, it feeds them and causes them to expand and there’s a big snowball effect which in turn causes the whole group to raise their game.

    I also think that when you contribute back to people you look up to/ admire, you change your relationship with yourself. You start relating to yourself as high-class and this in turn has your habits and actions become consistent with this new view.

  10. Peter Mis says:

    Jonathan, great post. Sometimes the immediate environment simply isn’t a fertile ground where your greatness can fully bloom. I get inspired by bearing witness to the greatness I’ve found especially via Twitter. And it doesn’t mean I need actual interaction with the people I follow (it’s always welcome). But when you’re exposed to people who take their lives seriously and keep moving forward, they remind you that what they’ve accomplished for themselves is possible for you, too. Sometimes, that’s more than half the battle.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world!

  11. Surround yourself with who you really are. The world-renowned, influential person who is the best at what they do. Do this, consistently, and connect with these folks and guess what happens 😉 Great insight JM.


  12. Daniel Wong says:

    This is a great reminder!

    I’ve heard it said that you’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with, and it’s pretty true. Hang out with positive people all the time and it’s almost inevitable that you’ll become a positive person yourself.

  13. Excellent post, Jonathan M., and great comment re “lurking,” too. Having acknowledgment from the “do-ers” — even if it’s just a brief emails — is deeply appreciated.

    You asked what might you have missed. For me, it’s a moment of integration. The moment I take to say, right, that works for them, but how would it work for me in my context, for my goals, for what I am trying to achieve.

    That, to my mind, is the opportunity for my own take on the situation or strategy, in short, my own individuality to emerge.

    Thanks for writing and for reading!

  14. Dave Ursillo says:

    Great insight as always, Jonathan. Your perception into these matters always impresses me (especially over lunch when you drop knowledge like this every other minute).

    I’ve felt myself leaning into the edge of this very topic lately. I’m gettin tired of working alone — and by tired, I mean, unable to keep doing it, for this exact reason.

    I’m not sure how that’ll all pan out, but a move elsewhere is needed so that I can surround myself with with the people who will — by simply living amongst them — challenge me and push me to expand onto new fronts.

    Thanks brother.


  15. Mike Wallace says:

    Great Points! The purpose of life is to be creators. Connecting with people that vibrate at your same frequency is a challenge. There are lots of things to pay attention to in the mean time.

    As rapid as our energy is able to manifest in one form or another, helped by technology, its also a challenge to prevail when the information is not immediately available, or only revealed by intuition. Distractability and noise are amped up by the same technology.

    In the case of someone with Aspergers they spend a whole life coping with the challenge of coping the face of constant noise, and succeed fabulously when they finally hit that right pitch

  16. […] Jonathan Mead shares the fastest ways he’s learned to level up your your business. […]

  17. Thanks for the post!!

  18. Bob K says:

    So…I started to type a post asking how to create an ‘accountability’ or mastermind group…(Where to find like-minded, talented, and creative people…that sort of thing…)

    And then it hit me..

    What about the people who are COMMENTING ON THIS POST!!?? What do you say people? If you’ve thought to yourself “I need to find a group”, maybe THIS is your group.

    Or mine.

  19. Chuck Rylant says:

    Fantastic post. It was Jim Rohn that said we are the average of the 5 around us, and as you suggested, most of those overnight successes work quietly working really hard for a very long time before the “overnight success” finally arrived.

  20. I’m a bit late to the party on this post, but here’s what I love: a sense of responsibility. When we wake up each day faced with the media blast that features blame and finger pointing, you quietly advocate to turn the finger on yourself. As someone who spent 17 years lost in the “shoulds” and wondering why I could never quite hit that balance, environment was everything for me to make the switch. It’s a matter of breaking out of the comfort zone (because it’s not really comfortable – it’s just familiar) and challenging ourselves to a higher standard. And we can’t do this alone. We have to line up the resources that make our environments inarguable. Me? Yeah – I’m the only one who can do that. I call it “landscaping my backyard economy.”

    So, thank you, Jonathan and Jonathan. Cheers.

  21. […] The Fastest Way to Level Up Your Business from Jonathan […]

  22. Yuval Goren says:

    Thank you Jonathan for the great insight. The environment you put yourself in makes all the difference.
    I moved to the Bay Area because I knew that this is the place to build a start-up. Being around like-minded people, successful entrepreneurs and great innovators almost forces you to do the same and be your best.
    I also completely agree with you that we need to be careful not to keep comparing ourselves to others and expect we can get the same results. As you said, “we’re all running our own race, and what matters is our competition with ourselves.” This is so true but sometime difficult to remember. We need to do the best we can with what we have and not try to play the role of someone else.

    All the best, Yuval

  23. Alison says:

    I read this post at the just right time. Not for me, but for my son. My son has a strong aptitude and more improtantly, interest, in a particular area. My husband and I would like him to go to a high school program that would nurture that talent. He would rather go to the high school that his buddies (who are football players, not focused on their futures) will go to. I hate to be tiger-mom-ish and I feel weird pushing a 14 year old down any particular path. My father did the same thing to me, but for an area I had an APTITUDE but no INTEREST. This post helped confirm that my son will have a better shot at succeeding if he’s around kids trying to accomplish the same goal.

  24. My favorite piece of advice in this post is this: “Seek them out, befriend them. And above all, find ways that you can add value to what they are doing.” This is an incredible way to play bigger in life and increase the likelihood of success.

  25. Paul says:

    Hi Johnathon,

    I totally agree with the idea of surrounding ourselves with the people who can lead and support us towards our dream career goals.

    I also believe that when you set the intention and consistently take action towards living your passions then people will naturally become attracted into your life to support your purpose, especially if you are seen as a person who provides true value to help others.

    What I found over the last 5 years is that I have naturally attracted new friends and associates once I started taking focused positive action to living my passions. I believe the universe does provide the opportunity for us to met the right people once we start pursuing our dreams.

    I also think it is important develop the ability to appreciate what you already have, and even if the people in your life such as family members who do not have the same level of passion or understanding we sometimes have to choose how to dedicate time with them, and at the same time appreciate them as individuals who can challenge us to ensure we maintain a flexible way of thinking.

    • Clare Norman says:

      Paul, I agree about the balance between surrounding ourselves with the best and the brightest….and then also listening to the perhaps naive questions and comments that non-experts might ask us. Those can be incredibly powerful to get us to think in new ways. I find that when I am coaching someone, the naive question that comes from a place of not knowing the answer can often move the coachee forward much more than any other question I might ask. It gets to the basic assumptions a person might be holding, that are blocking them.

      @Jonathan and Jonathan, thanks for this inspiring post. I’m off to find a group of excellent coaches to surround myself with!