Southwestern Company Presents: The Mimic Effect

Have you ever noticed that when two kids are good friends they mimic each other? Sometimes they bounce around like a Mexican jumping bean and have more energy than what they know what to do with. Or if the kids are like me and my best friends growing up the friends or group of friends could be known as the notorious “gruesome two-some” or kids that your parents warn you about.

“The mimic effect” is a universal principle that’s been around since the beginning of time. We are naturally programmed to emulate the people we surround ourselves with. The good, the bad, and the ugly absorbs into our DNA like a sponge. As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said “the only difference between who we are now and who we are in 5 years, is the people we meet and the books that we read.”

From birth to death “the mimic effect” determines the altitude of our success. We are only as successful as our 5 best friends. Whether or not you have heard of this universal truth before matters not. Do you purposely use the principle to take your business and life to the next level? Do you find yourself aware of this principle, yet still squandering your life away hanging with negative, lazy, fear paralyzed people?

Try this simple exercise that will forever change your life:

Developing your “peer group”:
Write down specific characteristics you want to have. What do you want other people to discribe you as?

For example: Dependable, Honest, Top Producer, Hard Working, Creative, Wise, Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Financially Free, Dedicated, Caring, etc.

Then make a list of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Then write down the top 5 traits other people would say they have (good or bad). Next make a list of people you know who have all of the traits you just listed. After that compair your lists and see if you have anyone on your list of people you spend time with who are doing the things you want to do with your life. If not… you guessed it’s time to get a new set of friends! Set a goal to surround yourself with the people who are already doing the things you want to do and “mimic” them.

If you want to be a good investor…start hanging out with an top investor in your town. When hanging out ask specific question and try to get inside their brain. Then “mimic” them!

If you want to start your own business, or be a top producer, or be a good husband/wife, or what ever your passion is to become, you must surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do and let “the mimic effect” go to work for you.

Let me tell you about my wife Kyah. Selling ice to an eskimo…no problem to the greatest saleswoman in the world. She’s that freakin’ good. Yet one day, she realized she could pursue her dream of becoming a stylist. And it so happens that the 5 people that she spends her most time with are… you guessed it, fashionistas! Shortly after becoming a professional clothing stylist she started writing a column for a well know magazine in our home town Nashville.
She styles musicians, business women, and doing private clothing consulting. Check out her blog, The Ivory Feather, for more details.

When I decided I wanted to become a professional sales trainer/ consultant/ coach I put into play the law of “the mimic effect.” I made a list of the type of people I needed to surround myself with… and guess what, I’m now certified by the National Speaking Association and the co-founder of the #1 company on Google under “corporate sales training”.

Here is the peer group that I on purpose surrounded myself with:

My professional speakers “peer group”

My professional speakers "peer group"

My professional speakers "peer group"


From left to right:
Paul Schween– Founder of PS seminars. (Advanced sales trainer extraordinaire), Me, Ron Marks- Founder of Results Seminars. (Author of the book “Managing for Sales Results”), Rory Vaden- Co-founder of Success Starts Now!. (First runner up in the world championship of public speaking and author of “The Audience is NOT in Their Underwear”), Gary Michels- Co-founder of Success Starts Now!. (Author of “Gettin in Gettin Out”)

My top producer/ sales ninja “peer group”
Here is the Southwestern Company all time sales record holders and our CEO Henry Bedford (who is my current sales coach).

Sales ninja "peer group"

Sales ninja "peer group"


From left to right: Dave Brown- The world’s best cold calling salesman of all time! (had 23 customers in one day selling books door to door!), Kyah Hillis (formerly Kyah Grady)- shattered the company record not once but twice! (Making her #1 out of over 250,000 sales people who have came through the SW company over the past 154 years), me, Henry Bedford- All around bad ass and CEO/ chairman of the board of all 17 of the Southwestern/Great American companies. (Oversees over $250 million of annual revenue), Bill Zizzy- Former SW sales record holder, Dave Rosen- Former SW sales record holder. Although I never formally had a professional relationship with Bill or Dave they were still in my sales ninja “peer group”. I applied “the mimic effect” with them through listening to their advanced sales CD’s over and over and over and over again in my car during the summers and drinking from their wealth of knowledge.

Here is a member of my professional sales coaching “peer group”:

SSN! crew on stage with Matthew Ferry

SSN! crew on stage with Matthew Ferry


Matthew Ferry- Life coach extraordinare! (Author of “Amplifying Your Money Magnetism”)

Here is a member of my professional consulting “peer group”:

Sales ninja "peer group"

Sales ninja "peer group"


Marc Savas- CEO of Unfair Advantage. (Successful executed over 100 consulting projects that has generated a average of 14.5% in lift of revenue! Unfair Advantage Inc.)

So if you really want to take your business/life to the next level put “the mimic effect” to work for you.
Know what you want.
Know who you want to be like.
Find those people and spend time with them.
Then let “the mimic effect” do the rest!

For additional information and help with designing a “peer group” and applying “the mimic effect” go to


17 Responses to “Southwestern Company Presents: The Mimic Effect”

  1. Evelina Chilikova Says:

    I think that’s a great article.

  2. Thanks Evelina!

    Stay tuned weekly for fresh new ideas and tips!

  3. Dane Basham Says:


    The Mimic Effect is the real deal! You have encouraged me to take a personal inventory of the traits I want to instill in myself and those around me. It really does come down to the 5 people you hang out with the most. Keep up the great content on your blog!


    Dane Basham

  4. John Wayne Southerland Says:

    Those are some great ideas! Reminds me of the advanced sales CDs that I listened to in the summer. That’s good stuff Dustin. I still listen to your cd along with the other greats (Zizzy, Rau, Brown, Mort). I love being able to apply your ninja ideas to my job I have now!!

  5. Greg Zweiacker Says:

    Really liked the blog. Embedded videos are awesome.

  6. Great blog. Just a taste the seminars.

  7. Jennifer Payne

    March 2 at 12:08pm
    I thought your article was awesome. After one summer of selling books I understand more and more how vital these principals are to becoming the type of person I want to be. I hear about them all the time. Even though repetition enhances learning, what if you added some fresh insight to your article?

  8. Evelina Chilikova

    February 28 at 10:22am
    Hey Distin.
    I think this article is awesome.
    I know you are really busy but I wanted to ask you a quick question.
    This is going to be my 3rd summer with SW.The first one I spent in Seattle living at Amaris Morrison’s house(I know she worked with you in Success starts now)and the 2nd I was selling in Colorado.
    Anyway,now I’m working with Mike Turner and Martin Kershaw from Robin Mukherjee’s group and DC of course.They are great people and they really help me a lot.
    My question(after the intro :))) is -how should I deal with my old friends who are still really close ones but they don’t support me at what I’m doing and blame me for becomming too ambitious and success focused.
    Thank you for the time!

  9. Dustin Hillis

    February 28 at 3:49pm
    That’s a natural reaction. You don’t have to eliminate your old friends from your life… just the amount of time you spend with them. Just be aware that they are doing things with their life and making decisons for themself that doesn’t have to impact you.
    Filter your thoughts when you’re with them and don’t let them influence you. Unfortunatly misery loves company… and most of the time people don’t like other people to do better than they are.

    So…. don’t let them hold you back. Still love them and help encourage them to do their best, but don’t listen to their negitivity. 🙂

  10. Evelina Chilikova

    February 28 at 4:04pm
    Thank you !
    I’ll be working on that :))

  11. Julio D. Hernandez

    February 28 at 3:25pm
    Good Stuff Dustin!!!

  12. Ron Alford

    February 28 at 9:42am
    good stuff buddy. so true in all avenues of life. way to give the wifey props and plug her new blog as well! =)
    cheers to you, Ron

  13. Travis Lopes Says:

    So true, I’ve applied this principle subconsciously before but it was good to get a theoretical basis. Keep it up.

  14. Joran Kosterman Says:


    You first revealed it (to me at least) this past weekend at Phoenix and I will definitely be applying this in my life. Thanks alot!

    P.S. You new book “Navigate” is awesome!

  15. […] If you want to start your own business, or be a top producer, or be a good husband/wife, or what ever your passion is to become, you must surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do and let “the mimic effect” go to work for you. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE […]

  16. Your blog is now on my “must read” list. ~Kurt

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