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The word needs to describe group of people that you choose to influence you. It would be nice if the word was reasonably simple or hip as well.

examples: guides, advisors, council, brain trust, concierge, sphere, tribe

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"Mentors" might work. –  John M. Landsberg Apr 13 '13 at 9:16
    
Why do the words in your list not suffice for your purposes? –  onomatomaniak Apr 13 '13 at 15:28
    
Welcome to English Language & Usage. This question is not constructive: it is generating a long list of equally valid answers; plus, the OP has left it unclear what makes a "good" or "bad" answer to the question. This is why we generally discourage word requests except when extremely interesting to experts. –  MετάEd Apr 13 '13 at 15:52
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6 Answers

Inner circle is a term often used for official high-ranking or at least 'influential' groups; it is used whimsically for other close-knit groups. There are other related offerings at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/inner+circle . Though mafia - 'any tightly knit group of trusted associates' - might be better avoided - and uses 'trusted' in a local sense.

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person to look up to

ideal n. a person or thing regarded as perfect: you're my ideal of how a man should be. a standard of perfection; a principle to be aimed at: tolerance and freedom, the liberal ideals.

*beau ideal pl.beau ideals pr.* bowI'deeul [n] an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept

The Vigilantes Get Ready to Pounce; Entitlement Trumps Opportunity as the... Newspaper article from: The Washington Times (Washington, DC) ...that the only reasonable replacement for Justice O'Connor is her clone. Entitlement has replaced opportunity as our beau ideal, and some of us have come to think of the Supreme Court as a collection of ordained seats: a Jewish seat, a black... (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-beauideal.html)

idol noun (2) a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered: movie idol Robert Redford

role model noun a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.

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Note that beau idéal means the ideal beauty, not a good idea. And I don’t think it applies here. OED citations: “1820 Irving Sketch-Bk., John Bull (D.) - Wonderfully captivated with the beau idéal which they have formed of John Bull.”; “1854 H. Miller Sch. & Schm. xxii. 231 - The Highlanders came to regard him as the very beau-idéal of a minister.” –  tchrist Apr 13 '13 at 12:30
    
Lol. You fell for that one? beau idéal does not only mean ideal beauty, but also, a beautiful ideal. thesaurus.com/browse/person+to+look+up+to See usage instance. –  Kris Apr 13 '13 at 12:33
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Then it has to be bel, not beau. Best stick to English, since French is obviously not your third language. –  tchrist Apr 13 '13 at 12:34
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Writers, musicians etc often talk about (or are asked about) their influences.

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More boring:

advisor, coach, consultant, counselor, mentor, tutor

Less boring:

cicerone, consigliere, éminence grise, guru, kingmaker

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cicerone, consigliere, éminence grise - not really English. –  comeAndGo Apr 6 at 23:53
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You want hip? Try "posse" or "entourage."

You want hippy? Try "spirit guide."

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Mentors is most suitable in my opinion.

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This answer has already been given. –  tchrist Apr 14 '13 at 18:41
    
@tchrist : No. You suggested it as one of several choices. I answered that mentor was the most suitable, IMO. I offered no other choices. Different answer. –  comeAndGo Apr 6 at 23:55
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