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How to Build Your Championship Network

3 Steps to Surround Yourself with the Right People

When you think of the people surrounding you, can you confidently say they are re-charging you? Elevating you? Supporting your mission?

Have you ever experienced a one-way relationship – one that you’re there to elevate and support, but when you need something, the person can’t be found?

If you’re struggling with these questions, I feel you. There was a time in 2014 when I found myself struggling in the people arena – a time where I was down on life and my career.

Ironically, I built a network of influential people that could help me on my journey, but I was reluctant to reach out to them because I had lost touch. I was too distracted by people who were deflating me and who could care less about my mission. And I was too burned out from catering to the people who left me hanging when I needed something from them.

As a result, I went into isolation…and my life and family nearly fell apart.

Then one day, as I was listening to a podcast, a quote struck my attention. It was Jim Rohn’s, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

And the more I studied the world’s most successful people, there was a clear theme of quality over quantity when it came to their network. They didn’t believe the myth that the more people you have in your contact list, the more powerful you are.

I soon realized that the people I spent the most time with weren’t helping me win at home, in my business, and career. And I knew that I would need to get serious about my network if I wanted to dig myself out of isolation.

So I did.

Today, I couldn’t be happier or more energized by the people in my life.

Since you are a champion with a vision for your life, career, or family, you require a strong network and support system. And it starts with a strong inner circle.

Think of it like a Starting Lineup in sports. Building your Starting Lineup consists of a few steps.


  1. Decide what positions you need on your team. What type of people do you need closest to you to take you to the next level? These could be coaches, your spouse, spiritual advisors, etc. Keep this list short. I don’t recommend more than ten positions in your Starting Lineup.
  2. For each position you listed in Step 1, determine the three to five key roles that the person in that position must carry out. What do you need from them in order to succeed?
  3. Once you determine your Starting Lineup’s positions and roles, it’s time to choose who best fits each of them.

To build a Championship Network beyond your Starting Lineup (and keep winning in the people arena), I learned that everyone must be categorized. This helps us determine where people fit, and how (and how often) we should serve them.


This part of your network is broken down into five categories.

  1. MVPs: Friends and associates that we can call on for all kinds of help and advice, and vice versa. This is typically a small number of people – no more than 50.
  2. All-stars: Relationships we treat as bench athletes. We pay close attention to them and value them, and treat them as important members of our team.
  3. On Deck: These are people that didn’t make the Starting Lineup, MVP, or All-Star lists, but can serve as backup should we decide that someone from those lists is demoted.
  4. Informants: These are people who don’t match our criteria for the other categories, but are great resources when we need certain types of information.
  5. TBD (or To Be Determined): Someone falls into this category when we just meet them and we’re not entirely sure which category they fit in. Here’s the catch: people are only in TBD mode for 90 days. We must process them within 90 days..

In order to help determine who belongs in your Championship Network, I’ve developed a filter system to guide you.


Ask the following four questions when building and reviewing your Championship Network:

  1. Do our values match? I’m not saying everyone needs to have the same core values as you, but they should resemble at least the majority of them.
  2. Do we provide value to each other? It’s important to remember that this is not a one-way street. The relationship should be mutually beneficial.
  3. Do I want to know this person? Do you actually want to get to know them and spend time with them?
  4. Do I need to know them? Or ask yourself, “Does this person need to know me?” We all go through seasons in life and, in some seasons, we may need certain people more than others.

One last point to wrap up this process. You must consider how often you want or need to be in communication with those in your network.

A balance of communication on both ends is key. For me, I’m talking to my Starting Lineup every week, my MVPs every 2-3 weeks, and All-Stars every 4-6 weeks. I always set a reminder in my calendar to contact them, even if it’s with a simple text.

You are now equipped with a Championship process to succeed in the the people arena. But, I must caution you. Don’t make one of the biggest mistakes I often see others make. They go through all the trouble to make their Starting Lineup. They figure out who their MVPs, All-Stars, and other categories are. But then they never maintain their network.

It’s essential to re-evaluate your network regularly. People change. Your seasons change. Life happens. I recommend reviewing and reevaluating your network every 3-6 months, and especially as the seasons in your life shift.

Letting go of relationships that don’t serve you can be a scary process. You may have some difficult conversations with those close to you. However, in order to live an Championship Life, this exercise is crucial.

When you implement this process of building a Championship Network, you will find yourself beginning to attract the people who are fit to be on your team and circles – people who are uplifting you, elevating you, and exchanging value with you.

Time to open your phone, planner, or whatever you use to schedule things, and schedule your time to review your current network. The sooner you complete this process, the sooner you’ll elevate your life (and win in every aspect of it).

What’s the first Starting Lineup position you need to fill? Which position is your biggest challenge?

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J.R.'s work is ground-breaking. It goes completely against the grain and helps you think completely outside
the box and communicate. He's a leader. He's one of the best leaders I've ever seen. – Micah McAdams, Leader of Houston H2C Baseball
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