Human beings are innately social creatures. Our actions, attitudes, and even our thoughts are subtly shaped by the individuals we associate with. This deeply ingrained social nature of humans has significant implications not only on a personal level but also in business settings.

So, if you are struggling to develop your business further, the simplest reason can be the company that you are keeping. In other words, you need to think of what form of group influences are you enduring.

I am not suggesting that you start putting the blame on the people that surround you. You may as well be one of the people responsible for the group dynamics. (And, you are).

Hence, the impetus for change must always begin internally – with a shift in your thinking and perspective.

The Power of Associative Reference Group

Humans have a tendency to believe that they deserve better.

But the stark reality is that we often get what we’ve worked for and any enhancement in our situation necessitates additional effort.

And, we are suggesting to start with defining your associative reference group (AFG).

An AFG refers to the group of individuals or company you aspire to be associated with. In essence, it’s the type of personalities you desire to surround yourself with. This could encompass fellow entrepreneurs who inspire you, individuals who lead a certain lifestyle you admire, or persons perceived in a specific manner that resonates with your aspirations.

Once you’ve defined your AFG, your subsequent task is twofold. Firstly, try to emulate the behaviours, work ethic, or lifestyle practices of this group. Secondly, take active steps to integrate yourself into such circles or communities that align with your AFG. In simpler terms, transition towards becoming a part of your associative reference group.

Overcoming Barriers

Now that you understand the importance of an AFG, what’s holding you back? Let’s explore some potential hurdles and ways to navigate them:

  1. Fear of Change: Change is often intimidating, but it’s a crucial part of personal and professional growth. Embrace it, and remember that every step towards change is a step towards progress.
  2. Lack of Direction: Not knowing where to start can be a deterrent. Begin by clearly identifying your AFG. Once you have a clear vision, you can start taking small steps towards your goal.
  3. Limited Networking Opportunities: Today’s digital age provides ample virtual networking opportunities. Utilize social media platforms, join online forums, and participate in webinars and virtual meet-ups to connect with like-minded individuals.
  4. Resistance from Current Circle: You might face resistance or discouragement from your current social circle when you decide to make changes. Communicate your intentions clearly, and don’t let others’ fear of change hinder your growth.
  5. Imposter Syndrome: As you start mingling with a new group, you might feel like you don’t belong or aren’t good enough. Recognize this as imposter syndrome, and remember that everyone has unique value to bring to the table.


In conclusion, harnessing the power of an Associative Reference Group can be a potent tool for personal and business development.

It can influence your attitudes, behaviours, and perceptions in a way that accelerates your progress towards your aspirations.

Identifying and integrating with your AFG is a journey that requires courage, persistence, and adaptability, but the rewards you reap will be well worth the effort. It’s time to take that leap.

What’s stopping you?