In a world where it’s all about likes, shares, followers and snaps, it’s easy to fall for what I call The Quantity Trap. A constant urge to chase numbers in all aspects of life. More friends, more followers, more cars, more bags, more watches, more shoes and the list continues. It’s a pattern that focuses purely on the quantity instead of the quality. This article will analyse what impact relationships have on one’s success and how to setup your inner circle to support your success and purpose in life.

When my circle got smaller, my vision got clearer. There’s strength in loyalty, not numbers. ~ Trent Shelton Click To Tweet

Relationships matter

How do relationships influence your sense of success and contentment? The standard thought is that money, power (or status) and intelligence are important drivers or happiness. But research has shown that all these aspects do not necessarily mean more happiness. To have a better understanding of the secrets to a meaningful and happy life, a group of Harvard researchers launched the Harvard Grant Study in 1938. This unique study collected data on 268 male Harvard undergraduates during 75 years and followed the men’s lives through surveys and interviews. They looked at all aspects, including relationships, politics and religion, coping strategies and alcohol use. The most important finding was astonishing:

Relationships are the only things that matter in life.

You could have a successful career, money and good physical health, but without supportive, loving relationships, you’d be unhappy. It all comes back to relationships and connections with other people. With this in mind, it’s clear that relationships are crucial for your life. Relationships are vital to one’s success and true connections help you feel more content. Now we understand that relationships matter and are crucial to one’s happiness and success, how do your closest relationships impact your success in life?

Who is your Inner Circle?

I have the privilege of being on the advisory board of several companies. Periodically we sit together with the management of the business and discuss the progress and challenges. It creates a type of accountability and as a board, we try to help the business as much as possible to reach their goals. Intentional or not, we all have an advisory board in life, called your inner circle. An inner circle simply means a circle within a circle. It is the closest circle to the centre of a larger circle, see illustration below. Imagine yourself surrounded by several circles, and you are at the centre of these circles. There are some circles closer to the centre as well. The circle closest to you is your inner circle. These friends are the people you spend the most time with.

inner circle

Close friends are like an Advisory Board

One of the things that distinguish inner circle friends from outer circle friends is the depth of friendship. They are those friends you can call on at any time, even at midnight and share your deepest challenges. It goes way beyond any superficial “let’s take a selfie” friendship. These friends know your struggles and understand where you want to go in life. They are those friends who you almost always take advice and suggestions from. They constitute what I call a board of advisors and each of us, be it deliberately or not have a board of advisors. It’s something that you need to be intentional about.

Who do you want in your Inner Circle?

There are certain roles that ideally are present in an inner circle. It could be that these are all different people, but some people might have similar roles as well. In general, the below type of people are crucial to have in your inner circle:


Mentors are people that have walked the journey you admire to walk. They have reached the goals you have set financially, business-wise, spiritually, educationally or whatever aspect of life you are reaching for. They know the struggles and can advise you with pure feedback. Mentors understand your destination, know what it takes to get there and will correct course if needed.


You need people that build you up. People that motivate you and help you maintain hope for the future. Builders help you strengthen your self-confidence and self-awareness. They are not afraid to criticize you to keep you sharp. They are as real as it gets.


People that want to connect are crucial. The ability to meet other people can help advance your goals and dreams and is tied to the presence of connectors in your inner circle. It’s important you recruit connectors into your inner circle. Connectors get to know you and then instantly work to connect you with others who share similar interests and goals with you.


Everyone needs friends that can boost their spirit. They energize and cheer you up when you’re down and are always available to boost your spirit.


Your inner circle is weak without companions. We all need companions. They are the first people you call, with good news or bad, and are always there for you. They are the people whose shoulder you can always lean on.

Final thoughts

Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher. ~ Oprah Winfrey Click To Tweet

One of my mentors and favourite authors, Tim Ferris calls it the best advice he ever received in his life: “You are the average of the five people you associate with most.” He now carefully scrutinizes who he works with, but he also prioritizes genuine, mutually beneficial collaborations. Some of Tim’s golden nuggets regarding inner circle:

  • Surround yourself and collaborate with the right people who truly value you
  • Ensure each new commitment helps you grow personally or professionally
  • Select new opportunities that align with your self-identity or personal mission

It’s time you surround yourself with people who have great and ambitious plans, meaningful and life transforming purposes, and big winning targets and dreams. This should be a goal in itself. Even if the winning targets are different from yours, probably they will be, you will end up feeding off their energy, and they will also feed off your energy. You are the CEO of your life. You have the power to create your own world. Decide today to create the kind of inner circle that will help to drive you towards achieving all your winning targets and reach your dreams with ease. You are born to thrive and win in life.

inner circle

The smaller the circle, the bigger the value