There was a time in my life when I looked around me and realized that a lot of the people I knew never actually did anything. They talked a lot about doing things – writing books, going back to school, going skiing – but nothing ever actually got done.

Today I prefer to surround myself with a different sort of person – one who does things. They’re better conversationalists: talking about all the things you did, rather than all the things you’re “going” to do makes for better conversation. Also they’re a galvanizing force. Being around people who do a lot of things makes me want to do things. And doing things is good.

Of course, we all have different ideas of what it means to be successful. For some it’s great wealth, for others it’s great life balance and great love. Whatever we’re striving for, the people with whom we surround ourselves have a big impact on whether we achieve it.

If you’re looking for a job, changing careers, or starting a business, the people in your life will be absolutely instrumental in your success or failure.

Here are five people who will help you get a little closer to your goals. Feel free to add your own. Then head over here to read about the 10 people you need to ditch before they drag you down.

The connector: This is the person who knows everyone. They have thousands of Facebook friends, who are real actual friends (not random strangers they don’t actually know in person), and everyone knows who they are. The connector is well liked and always willing to connect the people they know with each other.

The cheerleader: The cheerleader thinks everything you do is awesome, and is always encouraging you to do more of whatever you want to do. You want to start a business, go back to school, invent something to end world hunger? The cheerleader is sure you can do it.

The realist: Cheerleaders are great but sometimes they’re … what’s the word? … oh, yes, crazy. Sometimes your ideas are just bad. It’s not that you want people to step on your dreams but maybe you shouldn’t quit your job to write that musical about Nazis. Oh, wait, that’s The Producers…or is it The Sound of Music? OK, so maybe that particular idea is actually great. But the realist will let you know if you have a really bad one, and be your sounding board. The realist is not a pessimist. The realist can also help you come up with realistic ways to implement your ideas.

The idea generator: I have one friend who is an endless fountain of creative energy. He has as many ideas for other people as he does for himself – art projects, writing projects, business projects, solutions to problems. He never runs out and is always willing to share. No, they’re not all great ideas and some are crazy, but many are great, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Just being around him gives me ideas. Everyone should seek out someone like this to have around when your own idea well is tapped.

The success story: The success story is the person who is living their dream, whether that turned out to be the original dream they’ve been chasing all their lives, or some variation thereupon. I’ve got many of these in my life and every one of them is an inspiration when it seems like everything sucks.

Who do you keep close?

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