Your influencers: Infectious or infected?
“In order to preserve the dominion of our own passions, it behooves us to be constantly and strictly on our guard against the influence and infection of the passions of others.”
John Quincy Adams
(Congratulations you’ve just read an article that starts with a sentence including the word ‘behooves’!)
Scrolling through social media (first mistake), wading through the boast posts, selfies, regurgitation of other people’s ideas the occasional accomplishment that flares my competitive streak, it can feel like a relief when I see certain people have posted, like Cath Bishop, Brad Stulberg, Adam Grant, Sean Ingle, and recently Daniel Abrahams, Dave Smith – who subconsciously at first and now consciously that I’m blogging about it, I have learned to associate with valuable insights. These people I have come to expect and trust that they will share an idea or some material that will help me, add to my philosophies and make the journey ahead richer. They’re an oasis of positive calm in the face of comparison, self-oriented, noise.
Studies show that if we watch others pursuing a goal, we’re more likely to pursue something similar or similarly ambitious. Other works show us about the emotions we experience influence our ability to persist and dig in. We all know how negative it can be to work under an unfavourable boss (i.e. one under performer infects their workers). How you behave and the behaviours of others is infectious.
This concept is well known and most familiar as;
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Jim Rohn
If you’re interested in developing new insights and networks, join us at the Supporting Champions conference in March to hear how the top professionals in elite sports are impacting performance.
How can we take control?
In a world that is even more connected, it is probably not enough to think of just five people that you surround yourself with. Could we be a bit more creative and wonder who could be the 1-2 people that you surround yourself with (online or otherwise) for different kinds of inspiration and assurance. The benefit of online interaction is that you don’t have to happen to be neighbours or share an office with someone to benefit from their insights.
Who would you surround yourself with or love to meet an event for each of these areas, for example?
  • Creativity
  • Inspiration
  • Detail
  • Honesty
  • Confidence
  • Deep knowledge
  • Application
  • Risk-taking
  • Logic
  • Communication
  • Clarity
  • Challenge
  • Lateral thinking
Write down the area that you benefit from. Is it an area that you’d consider a strength, is it an area that you need some help with?
Recognise the person that you feel you’d benefit from. Either tell them (if you know them); drop them a line, (if you don’t know them); or simply creating a specific list that you curate that is your ‘go to’ for an online boost.
Invest further by taking time out of your environment, by visiting someone you respect, getting some CPD, to develop more insight and realisation and broaden your network, rather than just ploughing on with the next meeting, scanning social media for the next hit of dopamine or continuing with that project you know isn’t productive?
Engaging with others is good for your health, ideas and – make sure you’re investing in time out to broaden your networks and by finding and engaging with the type of person that can nourish you.

About steveingham

Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

Leave a Comment