Why Your Circle Of Friends Is More Important Than Your Network

They say that your network is your net worth. In my experience, that’s absolutely true. I now work for someone who is within a phone call of literally anyone in the world and my observations further confirm this adage to be true. But I believe your circle of friends is actually more important than the business connections you’ve made or the acquaintances you’ve added to your contact list. It’s the circle of friends that really determines the value of a person. Let me explain.

Last week, UFC fighter Jon Jones was disqualified from UFC 200 for testing positive for using a banned substance. It supposedly cost him an 8-figure pay day. Most reports claim that Jon Jones only has himself to blame and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Unless of course, you’ve experience Jon Jones and his circle in person.

When I worked for Finish Line, we worked with Jon Jones to launch the ZPump. We spent a half day working with Reebok, Jones and a handful of people to create content for our site that paralleled the Reebok commercial and ad campaigns that Jon was featured in. What I noticed was the “entourage” that came with him to the shoot. They acted much different than Jon himself. Jon was soft-spoken, light-hearted and having fun with the situation. The handful of guys with him were draped in expensive, even gaudy clothing. A few of them wearing Jordans, which is incredibly disrespectful of Jon and his relationship with Reebok. I also found it odd that they approached me trying to get Finish Line involved with their business, a sneaker consignment/reseller business. I can’t knock the hustle, but it’s important to realize there is a time and place for everything. It was just a bunch of red flags and a general lack of professionalism and I walked away talking about it with a coworker, both of us in a state of disbelief.

I tell this story because I think it shows the type of people who have somehow become Jon Jones’ circle of friends (I don’t know them or how they’re connected to Jon, and maybe I am completely judging a man by his poor taste in designer fashion book by its cover). It was more surprising considering Jon’s two brothers are also professional athletes. I would assume that they’ve also had to deal with freeloaders over the years and yet, they’ve both managed to stay out of the trouble that plagues Jon over and over again.

One of the most important things a friend can do for you is tell you when you should be doing better. If your circle of friends isn’t holding you to a standard that you would be proud of, they’re not good friends. The most important part of friendship to me is accountability. You need people around you to put you in check when you slip up, start to make excuses, or start heading down a self-destructive path. It’s difficult to find friends that care about you to that extent, but I think it’s necessary if you want to grow and become better.

I’ve worked with people that have obviously never taken the time to look at their circle of friends and it’s always a challenge for me to not say something about it. In fact, wanting more for people than they want for themselves is an ongoing problem for me. But when I see someone like Jon Jones that don’t have a tight circle to look out for them, it makes me grateful to the friends I have and gives me comfort that they will call me on my bullshit and hopefully prevent me from doing something that could cost me all of the net worth my network is supposedly worth. As Dr. Dre says, “Anybody can get it
The hard part is keeping it, mother&%*er!”