Whether you’re a business leader or just someone trying to improve their life, surrounding yourself with positive people can be an important part of personal development. Aside from offering support when you most need it, positive people can also challenge you to grow and evolve as an individual, all while giving you the confidence you need to take action.

But how do you find these positive people and make them a part of your inner circle? Twelve experts from Young Entrepreneur Council examine some of the steps you can take to locate and attract positive people to stand in your corner and challenge you to grow in both your personal and professional lives.

1. Identify What Makes Someone Positive

To be able to surround yourself with positive people, you first have to identify what makes a person positive. The best way to do that is to find the commonality between you and them. Also, positive people will always respect your individuality and encourage growth and flourishing. 

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

2. Be a Positive Person Yourself

Positive people can surround you if you are a positive person as well. This means you may have to raise your standards (don’t merely tolerate), kick toxic people out of your life and focus on those who empower you. In business, you also have to pick those who are go-getters instead of being around people who drain your energy.

Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck

3. Practice Self-Awareness

A great way to surround yourself with like-minded, positive people is to practice self-awareness. Being present in the moment is the key to understanding others because, instead of seeing them for who we want them to be, we see them for exactly who they are. From there, we can decide whether we want to keep or sever the connection for more positive relationships.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

4. Perform Regular Audits

I meditate and spend time in my own thoughts frequently and I understand the effects of other people on me. Those who are having negative impacts are audited out. In order to surround yourself with positive people who challenge you to grow, you have to remove yourself from situations or people who keep you the same. Recognize this yourself first, then perform an audit.

Matthew Capala, Alphametic

5. Look for Peers Who Want to Learn

The best way to surround yourself with people who challenge you to grow is to look for friends and peers who like to learn. People who embrace knowledge tend to ask questions about how and why something occurs while staying positive, which leads to more self-discovery. Similarly, if you keep this attitude when they approach you with a new update, there’s something for you to learn too.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

6. Join Mastermind Groups

My favorite way to surround myself with people who help me grow is to create and participate in mastermind groups full of other entrepreneurs who are there to support each other. You can pay to participate in mastermind groups or you can start your own for free. These work really well for both personal and professional growth and you can even start a small group in your company as a starting place. 

Joe Stolte, The Tractionology Group

7. Initiate Connections

Make an effort to connect with people who inspire you. If you come across someone you find motivating in your professional life, take the initiative to reach out and invite them to coffee, a networking event or simply to hang out after work. Get to know them, without waiting for them to contact you first. Social initiative is one of the highest forms of flattery these days.

Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

8. Share Your True Goals

Allyship can come from anywhere — from your old college friends, your kickball group, your co-workers. The key if you want to have them challenge you to grow is that you need to show up for yourself. Whomever you choose, be sure to share your real goals, your true goals. You’ll find that people who like you for you will be a lot less judgmental than you’ve been on yourself.

Kaitlyn Witman, Rainfactory

9. Share Your Interests With Others

It’s important to start talking about your interests with others. It’s only when you share what you’d like to do that other people can respond to you with helpful information. Your friends will also have connections with others and they can help you network with relevant people. So, start communicating to find your peers.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. Surround Yourself With Those You Want to Be

As a person and professional, there are some people you look up to and aspire to take a slice from their skills, expertise, accomplishments and success. Be in their presence. These are people who will uplift you and challenge you because they are a close visualization of who you want to be.

Asim Rais Siddiqui, Tekrevol

11. Connect on Social Networking Sites

I believe that surrounding yourself with people who challenge you to think and grow is the key to personal and professional success. The best way to surround yourself with these people is to use social networking websites like LinkedIn to find peers and mentors who are willing to explore various strategies and ideas.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

12. Figure Out Who Brings More Energy to Your Life

You have to figure out who eats your time and, from there, remove all those negative people who drain you. I had to make difficult decisions and ask myself, “Who are those people who suck my energy daily?” Then, from there, I spend more time on people who make me feel more inspired and energized instead of prioritizing those who make me feel lifeless.

Daisy Jing, Banish

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.


  • Scott Gerber

    Founder and CEO

    Young Entrepreneur Council

    Scott Gerber is the founder of YEC, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. Learn more at yec.co.