Who’s in your circle of five?

Today, I learned a new phrase.

It’s a concept that I’m familiar with… you probably are too, but it’s new phrase, and I like it.

The Circle of Five.

I’m currently reading Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect. In it he talks about the people you spend the most time with and the tremendously formative influence they will have on your life!

I posted a picture of a page on my Instagram page in which he talks about this:CAM01678I spent a bit of time answering this question for myself and then wondered…

“As a follower of Jesus I am called to show love to everyone. How do I live in such a way that the negative personalities don’t drain me, while at the same time submitting to the teachings of my Leader, Jesus, who teaches me to live with love towards all people?

Hardy helped me by referencing something he had been taught by Jim Rohn, “It’s powerful to evaluate and shift your associations into three categories: dissociations, limited association, and expanded association.” (You can read Jim Rohn’s thoughts on this idea in this two-part article: part 1, part 2).

Hardy then went on to spend some time explaining how to deal with the relationships in each of these categories.


These are the people that are constantly pouring mud into your pool. They darken the room the moment they walk in… and refuse to change.

Hardy writes, “I’m constantly weeding out of my life people who refuse to grow and live positively.”

Then he says this:

“When you make the tough decision to put up boundaries between you and the people who drag you down, realize that they’ll fight you – especially those closest to you. Your decision to live a more positive, goal-oriented life will be a mirror to their own poor choices. You will make them more uncomfortable and they will attempt to pull you back down to their own level. Their resistance doesn’t mean they don’t love you or want the best for you – it’s actually not about you at all. It’s about their fear and their guilt about their own poor choices and lack of discipline. Just know that breaking away won’t be easy.”

Essentially there are some people that I will not spend time with… because they refuse to change and anything I can offer them will be of no value since they won’t receive it anyway.

How does this align with my Christian values? Here are some verses that are helpful:

  • “Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. (Matthew 7:6 NLT)
  • It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom. (Proverbs 17:16 NLT)
  • Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice. (Proverbs 23:9 NIV)

And then there’s the group of people who aren’t completely determined to be negative and mud throwers… but aren’t quite fully committed to being the best they can be. These people are the…

Limited Associations

Hardy says, “There are some people you can spend three hours with, but not three days. Others you can spend three minutes with, but not three hours.”

You must decide how much time can be spend in the presence of these people, but keep in mind as you are deciding that every minute spent with them will influence you.

Hardy’s advice is, “Take a look at your relationships and make sure you’re not spending three hours with a three minute person.”

And finally there’s the group that Jim Rohn advices we spend the most time focusing on developing…

Expanded Associations

These are the people who are doing what we want to be doing (physically, financially, relationally, spiritually, etc.).

I have found that these people are hard to get time with!

Crazy thing here… negative people always have time about what they don’t have and how bad life is. Positive people are always busy getting what they want and making life good! Therefore they are harder to spend time with!

Here’s a breakthrough thought…

You don’t necessarily need to sit across the table from a person to be influenced by them!

Some of the people that have influenced me the most are people I have never had coffee with: John Maxwell, John Wooden, Mark Bell, Jesus, etc.

Books and articles that these people have written, videos that they have made, speeches that they have given… all of these are opportunities for you to spend time with them!

Of course there are plenty of influencers with whom I have had the opportunity to spend time… and I have filled many notebooks up with their wisdom.

The point is this… the voices that speak most frequently into your life will ultimately determine the kind of person you become!

So, if you were to ask yourself, “Who are the five people I spend most of my time with?” What would the answer be?

And then ask yourself this, “How similar am I to my circle of five?”

And then this question: “Am I okay with my last answer?”

And if you’re not, ask yourself this: “What am I going to do about this?”

Remember, the circle of five will determine the kind of person you become!


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