From my study of success stories around the world, I have come to the conclusion that to succeed in life, there are ten people we each need in our lives.

1. The Benchmark

How far you go in life depends on the standards you are shooting for. So, the first person you need in your life is the benchmark. This is the person whose life and achievements keep you from becoming complacent. If you pick the right benchmark, you will never be guilty of resting on your oars and you will keep pushing the frontiers of your own performance and competence. The benchmarks in our lives keep us humble and at the same time ambitious.

Your benchmark can belong to a very different field but he will still inspire you to do more. For instance, a writer can pick a sports superstar as a benchmark. The most important criteria for the right benchmark is that he should be operating at the highest level of his excellence in his chosen field and should be making the kind of impact in his field as you will want to make in yours.

2. The Competitor

In many respects the competitor looks like your benchmark but there is a crucial difference. Your benchmark may not be in the same field with you but your competitor must be in the same field with you. The wonderful thing about the competitor is that he keeps you working hard and pushes you to become the best you can be. If you pick the right competitor, you will amaze yourself with how far you can go.

We see the effect of competitors in every field. Rafael Nadal, Nova Djokovic and Roger Federer are great tennis players because they have each other as competitors and none of them can afford to stop working at staying on top of his game. The Messi/Ronaldo rivalry has helped both players to keep pushing the frontiers of their potential. And that is the blessing of a great competitor. He may cost you sleepless nights but, in the end, he makes you far better than you could have ever been.

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3. The Sage

The sage is someone who is wiser than you and more experienced in life than you. This is the person whose words and counsel can guide and order your steps right. With a sage in your life, you avoid making certain mistakes that many regard as unavoidable and you save yourself a lot of regret and shame. Another name for sage is the counsellor.

4. The Mentor

For most people, the sage and the mentor are the same but they don’t have to be. A mentor has two very important roles. First, the mentor is your life’s coach or tutor, someone you can hold yourself accountable to. In this respect, a mentor is someone who shares his life’s experiences and lessons with you and one who can call you out when you are not thinking right. A mentor has a second role and that is to take you under his wings and open doors of opportunity to you by putting his network and influence at your disposal. An endorsement from your mentor is pure gold.

5. The Pastor

This person does not need to be a minister of the gospel but he must be someone who understands spirituality and spiritual principles and can teach you how to apply them. This is also the person who speaks good things into your life. The pastor is also the one who can pray for you even if no one is praying for you. For many people, their parents play this role before they marry and when they marry, their spouses take over. The pastor in your life gives you perspective in life and shows you that life is not all about money and work.

A pastor also helps you to become your best self. The pastor is the one who also encourages you when you are down and gets you going when you feel like giving up. The right pastor plays his role without seeking to take over your life or profiting from you.

6. The Boss

The boss is the one who pushes you to do more without taking any excuses. It is human to cover our laziness and mediocrity with a lot of excuses but the boss works with you to set goals and targets for your life and drives you hard to achieve them.

A responsible and loving father or an uncle plays this role very well for many people. For students, good teachers play this role. We tend to hate the boss in our lives yet if we cooperate with them, they can help us attain heights we could not have imagines possible with ourselves.

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7. The Lover

We all have needs in our lives that are non-negotiable; to give and receive love. Here is where the lover comes in.  The lover becomes the giver and receiver of love for you. The right lover becomes an oasis in this life that can often be as hostile as trekking in the desert. But for the lover to become that useful to you, there must be faithfulness on your part and on the part of the lover as well.

8. The Mentee

We have already touched on the importance of having a mentor in your life, but if you have a mentor and you do not have a mentee, then you are operating with just one wing. You need to pick someone you can also mentor. Someone who holds himself accountable to you and someone for whom you can open doors. You see the water body that only receives inflows but never allows outflows becomes salty and dead. The mentee enables you to pour your life into his and thereby opens you up to receive more. The right mentee brings you fulfilment and significance.

9. The Pro

You need this kind of person as you go higher up the success ladder. The Public Relations Officer is the person to whom people go when they have issues with you and he tries to make them put the best possible interpretation to your actions and statements. As stated earlier, this becomes useful only as you succeed. This is because the more you successful you become, the more room there is for people to misunderstand or take offence at you. For the lucky successful men, their wives play this role for them.

10. The Friend

You Cannot sustain your success if you do not have at least one friend. By friend, I mean the one who celebrates you; the one who cries with you and the one who fights for you. This is the person who is also your reality check because he is not afraid to tell you as it is and yet you never feel rejected with him.  A friend is the one you can count on when everyone turns his back on you. If anyone finds that one friend, he is very fortunate.