It’s damn near impossible to achieve a long-term goal without motivation. Motivation is a hard thing to come by. But you know what makes motivation a consistent aspect in your daily life? Other motivated people and/or a like-minded community.

I bet you’ve heard this before and you might be thinking “Well, obviously…”. But what have you done to surround yourself by other motivated people lately? There’s a social component when it comes to making progress in your personal and professional endeavors.

Here’s a challenge. Make a list of all the people close to you. Pick the names of 5 people that truly motivate you.

Did you come up with all 5? If you did, you’re very fortunate and have clearly done a good job of keeping a solid circle of inspiration.

But to those that haven’t, think of this as a wake-up call. You’re probably not utilizing your full potential. You could be improving quicker.

The Power of a Community

When I was in high school, I started taking private art lessons from a woman that lived in my town. My mother would pick me up after the lesson every day and over time, she became close friends with my art teacher. My mother eventually started the taking art classes too. She loved it! This continued for a while until sadly, one day, our teacher unexpectedly passed from a medical condition.

My mother was devastated, but kept up with the art, almost as a homage to her friend. It was something she would dabble with here and there on the weekends as a casual hobby.

A couple years ago when she officially retired from her job in education, she decided to join an artist’s guild. She immediately became immersed in the community and began painting full time. I visited her at the guild’s open studio a couple months ago and was overwhelmed by the creative energy radiating from this collective of artists. I met with my mother and all of her friends and they showed me their studios and recent work. It was an incredible experience.

Since she joined the guild, my mother has been improving at an incredible rate and has never been so excited to create. She has even started paying the bills from selling her art. My mother is a driven person, which is obvious given the fact that she didn’t put the brush down when her friend died, but I firmly believe that a lot of her creative motivation and development came when she found a community of like-minded artists that support and encourage each other.

How a Community Helps

It’s simple. When you’re around driven people, it rubs off on you, and here are several reasons why:

  • When you’re around someone who is making progress, its harder for you to find an excuse as to why you can’t possess the same drive in your own work. It’s almost a competitive mentality — without the actual competition.
  • When you’re having an off day or if you’re frustrated and want to throw in the towel, there will people there to encourage you to keep pushing forward.
  • Multiple heads are better than one. If you work together, your community will give you ideas that you would never have come up with on your own.
  • If you reverse the roles of the previous three bullets and provide this inspiration for other people in your community, they will look up to you and value your encouragement. It’s a two-way street.

You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself by.

It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? There’s no better way to get motivated than to surround yourself with other motivated people. There are people out there that share the same passion and drive as you — you just need to find them.

If these people aren’t readily available, try searching Meetup for something that interests you — even if it’s not completely in line with your passion. You’re bound to meet a lot of interesting people. Who knows, someone you meet might change your life in ways you couldn’t have foreseen.

The takeaway here is that surrounding yourself with like-minded people will benefit you in many ways. If you’re an artist, surrounding yourself with other artists is ideal, but that’s not say you won’t find inspiring people in other facets of life. Not all of my close friends are hand-lettering artists, or even artists for that matter. But they’re smart people that never give up.

If you know people like that, hold them close. Share your stories and listen to theirs. Encourage them and they’ll encourage you.