I just returned from a whirlwind week long trip that saw me visit Toronto and New York City, both for the first time. Most of my time was tied up in a conference room but these cities showed me a good time, but it wouldn’t have been the same unless I met the people I did. In life the people you choose to surround yourself with is super important, because ultimately it can tell a lot about yourself and where you are headed in life.
If you are surrounded by negative people who complain all the time, I’m fairly confident you won’t go on to make that next billion dollar company. Instead if you choose to surround yourself with people that are uplifting and big thinkers, this will force you to up your game and be better. Which usually is a recipe for someone to succeed. This mindset has been a huge driver of my recent successes.
1. Out with old friends and in with the new ones
This past weekend in New York City millennials from across the globe came together in the heart of Manhattan to connect and share their stories of success and hardship. It was a weekend jam packed with events, speakers, and tonnes of networking. All the stuff you come to expect at a conference.
The Next Gen Summit is unique in the fact that it attracts talented millennials from across the globe with attendees coming from as far as Switzerland and Canada (I was one of them). The conference was a great experience and something I will never forget, but it wasn’t the normal conference activities that stood out to me. It was the experiences I had with others that inspired me throughout the weekend. It was their positive attitudes and their willingness to help. That’s what makes the Next Gen community unique through everyone’s willingness to help each other succeed.
TIP: Get rid of negative people in your life. Start distancing yourself and spending less time with them. By doing this you will experience a massive surge of energy and one less person who will question your motives about following your passion. This has paid dividends for myself and I hope it does for you as well.
2. Dinner conversation
I was fortunate enough to have a dinner one evening with a founder of a company, venture capitalist, an aspiring entrepreneur, and a super bright university student who just graduated. Mix a little of myself in there and I felt we had a pretty solid group. At this dinner conversation I started to realize the company of people I was in. These people were all amazing in their own ways, doing amazing things or planning their next moves. This dinner was a highlight of my trip because of the wisdom we shared, wine we drank, and the stories we told. To me this is what networking and building a relationship is all about. Having a meal together and connecting on a deeper level with one another.
TIP: The next time you go to a conference invite others you want to connect with out for a dinner, breakfast, or lunch. Shoot for a max of 6 people so it’s easy for everyone to interact and get to know one another. You won’t regret this!
3. Asking for guidance
So I had an attendee reach out to me before the conference asking for guidance on writing. He saw that I’ve been writing recently for several outlets and was interested to get into writing himself, so he asked me some questions. I emailed him back right away and said let’s connect at the conference in New York, so that’s what we did. One morning during a break in the conference we sat down and I gave him my thoughts and answers to his questions. This was a highlight for me because I got to share my story, and hopefully it inspired him to get into writing. I find a tonne of enjoyment in inspiring others to do new things, start businesses, follow their passions, and so on.
“Life is short and should be spent doing things we have a passion for and that make us better people”
TIP: Before you attend a conference look up who some of the speakers, attendees, and sponsors will be. Write down 3-5 people you are interested in asking for advice or wisdom when you attend the conference. Now all that’s left is for you to ask your questions.
“You never know unless you ask”
4. Getting a roommate
When you attend a conference, most times you go there knowing no one. You end up paying for a hotel by yourself, like everybody else. At this conference I chose to switch it up and find a roommate before I went. It’s a great way to save costs, but also to better connect with a fellow attendee. After this past weekend I know I gained a friend for life. My roommate and I didn’t do everything together but we shared a few meals, had a few laughs, all resulting in us forming a friendship.
This is what makes risks worth it, when you find others striving for the same goals and dreams as you.
TIP: Find someone you want to share a room with at the conference and reach out to them beforehand. Obviously pick someone with similar interests, age, sex, etc. But a tip I used this time was by having multiple calls and interactions with my roommate through Facebook, email, social media, etc. before we met at the conference. When we met each other in person, we already knew lots about each other and instantly connected.
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely at times and attending the Next Gen Summit was no where near lonely. I was surrounded by intelligent people at every turn who are striving to make the world better than the way they entered it. That’s inspiration and vision in my mind, especially since most of them were teenagers or in their early twenties.
There were tonnes of experiences other than these explained above at the conference that I wish I could share, but these ones stuck out to me. In life the small things matter, so don’t overlook them.
I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to attend the Next Gen Summit with a community of people from around the world that I can now say is my extended family (my immediate family is big enough already at 19 people, sorry!).
This community inspires me to think bigger, and take action on a daily basis. I will forever be an advocate and partner for this amazing movement that Next Gen has created. Until we meet again have your head up high, and remember that life is all about the people you meet.
The people you choose to surround yourself with will be a key indicator of what you can and will accomplish in your life. Now get out there and change the world!
Clinton Senkow is the Co-founder & COO of Influencive where he manages and oversee’s all business development and partnership activities for Influencive. He’s also the CEO of Senkow Ventures which is a digital consultancy for high-growth startups and SMB’s, a member of the invite-only Forbes Business Development Council, and was named a “Top 20 Speaker by Forbes”. He’s also a three-time Top G20 YEA Entrepreneur representing Canada.