Recently, I wrote about factors that contribute to many of us chasing superiority in our lives, only to realize that our need to be superior can have adverse impacts on our happiness levels and our relationships.
Those same factors – growing up in a culture that values self-starting, self-reliance and self-sufficiency are partly to blame for why we think we’re equipped to tackle the challenges of life on our own. Many of us believe it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help as we navigate the trials and tribulations of work, relationships, family, health and finances (this is doubly true for men). We gather all of our fears, worries, anxieties, hopes, dreams and goals – throw them over our shoulder and slog along – burdened by the collective weight of all that life requires.
What if you could unload some of that weight? Lighten your burden. That’s what the most successful of us do. They enroll other people in their life as members of their team. In some cases, they recruit people to be on their team. The point is, they spread it around – thoughtfully. They engage with their inner circle in ways that enable them to make better decisions, gain confidence, overcome adversity and live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Just like any sports team, your personal ‘success’ team should have members who play specific roles. In all likelihood, you already have some or most of your squad. But, like any team that wants to win – you have to look at your personnel. Do you have any gaps? Is it time to upgrade – does your team still inspire you? Maybe it’s finally time to make a trade. This may seem cruel, but people change and in some cases not for the better. Be proactive and manage your team. Don’t be afraid to talk with your team members about their role – and thank them for their service to you.
Just like Michael Jordan would surely lose if he single handedly took on the ’91 Lakers, you can’t go it alone in life and expect the results you desire. The late Scott Dinsmore writes on the inspiring Live Your Legend blog, “The biggest single predictor of success (however you want to define it) is the people who surround you.” Take a second right now, and count out the people who are on your team. Not your Mom, not that colleague you haven’t spoken to in months, not that old college friend you see every other month. People who are actually signed up, actively contributing to your success. People who make you want to get out there and do something great. I’m guessing you could count them on one hand.
The problem isn’t that we don’t know people who inspire us – we do! The problem is neglect. We get busy, we’re tired, we rely on relationships of convenience (read coworkers) to fill these critical roles, we don’t think it matters that much. It does matter – don’t relegate your success and happiness. Reach out, enlist, have a conversation, get inspired, reconnect and commit.
Some might say this is a thinly veiled attempt at hawking my services as a coach. Well, you’d be right. See, I firmly believe the role of coach has to be fulfilled on everyone’s team. You need someone to listen to your struggles and your triumphs. You need someone who holds no social ties to you, who will be (almost) completely objective, who will challenge your assumptions and who won’t be held back by fear of reprisal. I’m not saying I should be your coach. I’m saying you should have a coach – whoever that may be, whoever is right for you. Coaching has been a powerful force in my life, and I want you to share in those benefits.
Image if you let go of some of the challenges you’re trying to solve by yourself and instead, engaged your inspirational ‘success’ team. Imagine asking them for their input, guidance and support and imagine their response. Imagine the meaningful, practical, tried and tested advice you’d receive. Imagine the weight that would be lifted. Imagine you’re not alone. Stop imagining. Who’s on your team?