Years ago, a gentleman by the name of Conrad Salas, who had been raised in the deserts of New Mexico, found himself in Galveston, Texas. As he passed through an open-air fish market, he saw a shallow pan of crabs outside a shopkeeper's store.

He went in and told the shopkeeper that he better get a deeper pan, or the crabs would get away. The shop-keeper told him not to worry about it: whenever one crab tried to crawl out, the others would drag him back in the pan. Although any one of them could easily have gotten out of the pan by himself, none ever did.

It occurred to Conrad that this was the story of his life.

He had been brought up (from his viewpoint) on the wrong side of the tracks. Every time he tried to change, someone would try and pull him back by saying something like, "Who do you think you are?" or "We liked the old you better."

You too, will face such crabs. Every time you risk, there will be someone trying to prevent you from changing. Many times it is those who love us the most. It is usually not that they don't love us; it is that they're afraid of losing us and being left behind.

In these situations, you are faced with a decision: to let yourself be pulled back into the pan, or continue to crawl out. Obviously, I support you to continue to change and crawl out! And here's some good news about what happens when you choose that path: you will usually pull a few other crabs out of the pan with you!

Take 15 minutes right now to take an inventory of the people you hang out with. Are they pulling you back into the status quo, or encouraging you to take risks and move forward? If the former, it doesn't mean you have to cut them out of your life - but you may want to move certain people from your inner circle to a more outer circle of influence in your life and spend less time with them. Everyone has support groups; you need to ask yourself, "What are they supporting me in?" Sometimes we have friends supporting us in drinking a lot or being lazy or in making negative talk.

Takeaway Lesson#1 There are people, places and things that pull us back from growth to keep us comfortable.

Takeaway Lesson#2 Because someone doesn't want you to change doesn't mean he don't love you. It usually means he is afraid.

Action Item #1 Pick one person, a friend you spend a large amount of time with who does not support you changing. Then pick a second person, someone who lives at a higher level than you (higher in the sense of relationships, financially, spiritually, or specifically in your network marketing business). Now, consciously reduce the time you spend with the former and increase the time you spend with the latter. It's like breaking a habit. It's far easier to replace a poor habit with a good one, than to simply stop the bad habit.

Action Item #2 Look around you in your network marketing business. Do you have people who are stuck in the old way of doing things or old technology?

Look around you in your spiritual life. Do you have people who do not support your growth because it scares them or threatens their power in the bureaucracy of the organization?

Do you spend time with friends in your business who continually don't produce?

Find a group or form a mastermind that will support you in your growth regardless of the consequences to them. They are people committed to your growth coming from accountability without judgment.

EXAMPLE My wife Roma had a lady friend from her early adulthood. This friend always overspent her personal budget and whenever they went out together would encourage my wife to buy things. Roma would get home and look at things she bought that she really didn't want or need, and feel bad about it.

Whenever she would try and bring the subject up, this friend would get very defensive. This friend had been a convenient friend: she was single and whenever I was traveling on business trips, it was more awkward for my wife to mix with couples when she was alone.

Finally my wife decided that she had to reduce the amount of time she spent with this other woman. It was uncomfortable for my wife to make new friends, but that is what she did, so that she wouldn't have the negative pull.

I experienced a similar thing in my business as we grew. In the early days, everyone had plenty of my attention because we were few in number. As we grew, I had to delegate and couldn't be everywhere. Some of my leaders didn't want us to grow simply so they could have all of my attention. We discussed the situation so they were clear that less of my time did not mean I didn't care for them as much. This reduced some of their fear; some of them changed because they were committed to our growth, and some ended up leaving. I kept focused on the growth.

Do you have people in your network marketing business you hang out with because you started at the same time or whom you simply like to be around - yet who aren't real producers? Is it time you were more proactive in who you spend your time with? Time is our most precious commodity and wisdom is how well we spend it.

(Adapted from Brian's book, Eating the Elephant One Bite At a Time.)

BRIAN KLEMMER is author of If How To's Were Enough, We Would All Be Skinny Rich and Happy and When Good Intentions Run Smack Into Reality. He does leadership seminars for the network marketing profession, as well as traditional companies, including Walt Disney Attractions, Hewlett Packard, and Aetna Life Insurance.