If You’re Going It Alone, You Are Missing Out
“The bigger your dream, the more important your team.” — Robin Sharma
Today, I find myself deeply humbled and grateful for the host of people — my team — that keeps me afloat. My family, friends, mentors, professors, editors, designers, and many more pages of people only appropriately mentioned in the depths of my personal journal.
My gratitude follows an evening of despair and self-pity. When you take on big challenges, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and often discouraged. At times you feel lost and alone.
But the humble realization is this: You are nothing without the people around you.
The most successful people not only work well with others, they depend on them. And they’re quick to build — and appreciate — a team of people around them. As Henry Fold once said when accused of being unintelligent:
“Let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts.”
Unfortunately, most people do not work well with others. “They do not build a team around them BECAUSE they perceive themselves as more capable than others.” — Adrian Brand
Until you can learn to leverage and expand on other people’s help, you’ll be halted in your potential. The bigger your ambitions the more help you’ll need.
Why Cyclists Need Teams
When a cyclist rides alone, they are forced to face wind resistance head-on. However, a team of cyclists can go faster and longer by utilizing “slipstream” — the pocket of forward moving air being pulled directly behind the front rider. While “drafting” in the slipstream, cyclists can conserve up to 40 percent of their energy.
In the back position, you don’t face the full resistance because the front rider is pushing the air directly in front of them off to the side. Not only is the back rider shielded from the bulk of wind resistance, but they are actually being pulled forward — like walking on a moving walkway in the airport.
In life, there are “slipstreams” (moving walkways) everywhere. You can use these to radically accelerate your progress toward your goals. Examples include:
· Mastermind groups
· Joining a team/group working toward a common cause
However, just as in cycling, when a group is moving too fast, it can be easy to fall-out of the slipstream and be left in the dust — to face the resistance alone.
Although many try “going it alone,” in order to achieve maximum results in life, you need a team. You need to utilize slipstream. In order to ensure that you stay in the slipstream, you will need lots of support.
Entering Stage 4 Tribal Leadership: You Need A Team
In the epic book and TED talk, Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan explains that most people operate in what he calls, “Stage 3 Tribal Cultures,” where:
· People view themselves as lone warriors on a quest for personal domination.
· The dialogue and perception is “I’m great, and you’re not.”
· The motivation is competition, and the goal is to come out on top.
Obviously, people with this paradigm don’t work well with others, and are out only for themselves. Sadly, most organizations and “successful” people get stuck in Stage 3.
However, more evolved individuals progress into what Logan calls, “Stage 4 Tribal Cultures,” where:
· People have tribal pride and see themselves as part of stable partnerships.
· The dialogue and perception is, “We’re great.”
· The motivation is collaboration.
In Stage 4 cultures, people are no longer competing against their team-mates in pursuit of personal glory, but can instead focus outward on crushing other organizations. An example of Stage 4 culture is Zappos.com, where there is a sense of mission and shared values.
Getting Out Of Stage 3:
Most people are stuck in Stage 3, and will there remain for the duration of their career. And that’s fine, if you want to halt your own potential. If you want to be a cyclist without a slipstream, have fun. You may get far compared to “most people,” but you’ll be way behind those who become part of a collaborative team.
However, when you feel ready to expand your vision and shoot for the stars, you will need a team. You will need a host of people — your supporting cast — who will multiply several times over your efforts.
Embracing How Dependent You Really Are
Stage 3 people want to believe they are completely independent. When you start thinking bigger, you embrace dependency. You actually want to become increasingly dependent on more and more people because without them, you could never achieve your vision. It’s simply too big.
In the book, Who’s Got Your Back, Keith Ferrazzi dispels the myth of the lone professional “superman” and the rest of our culture’s go-it alone mentality. According to Ferrazzi, the real path to success in your work and in your life is through creating an inner circle of “lifeline relationships.” These are deep, close relationships with a few key trusted individuals who will offer the encouragement, feedback, and generous mutual support every one of us needs to reach our full potential.
These “lifeline relationships” are the people who make sure you don’t fall-out of your slipstream. Without these people, you will fail. Without these people, you could not do what you do.
Think of the people with whom you can be most vulnerable and honest about your foibles, your fears, your doubts, and most importantly your dreams. Cherish these relationships. Cultivate them. Deepen them. They are one of your greatest assets and among the most meaningful parts of life.
Building An Entire Team Around You
Beyond your immediate support group is the team you build around yourself. According to Alex Charfen, CEO of Charfen consulting services and founder of the Entrepreneurial Personality Type™ (EPT), the one thing billionaires have in common is that they are comfortable.
And by comfortable, he doesn’t mean they wear comfy slippers — he means they barely lift a finger except when they’re doing what they do best. In order to do so, they build a team around them to take care of the rest.
When most people hear this, they initially think, “Of course, they are billionaires.” However, the truth is that this is why they are billionaires.
When Charfen was in his 20’s, he was at a friend’s (a billionaire) and was surprised to see a staff of two people working at his house, and a team of 30 people, including a driver. Charfen couldn’t help but ask his friend:
“Is it ever embarrassing to have so much help and so much fuss as you go through the day and get around? I mean at least 10 people have helped us so far and it’s only 11 A.M.”
His friend responded:
“It would be irresponsible for me to do anything that you observed any member of my team doing today. They are there for me and I am there for them. We have grown together and we built everything together.
If I had done anything that one of my team members had done today they would’ve been uncomfortable and worried. Each one of them is here for a reason and many of them played a role in training and hiring each other. They know that the more they help me get accomplished, the more secure we all are and the more we can grow our foundation.”
High performers build a team around them much sooner than they are comfortable with. They are willing to think big, take on greater responsibility, and focus in on their superpower.
The sooner you can remove all of the personal pressure and noise the faster your income will skyrocket.
Don’t Take Your People For Granted, You Couldn’t Do What You’re Doing Without Them
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe
William Shakespeare once wrote, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Conversely, our regrets will come when such things are neglected from those who mean the most to us.
As Thomas Monson has said, “It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.””
According to research, people are far more creative when they feel appreciated. Interestingly, one study has found that saying “thank you,” facilitated a 66 percent increase in help offered by those serving. Simply put, when people feel appreciated, they work harder and better.
But even if that wasn’t the case, we should never take the people in our live for granted. We are nothing without these people. We should be showering them with love, thoughtfulness, humility, and appreciation.
According to neuroscience research, the more you express love (like gratitude), the more other people feel love for you.
Think of all the people who make the work you do possible. I doubt you could even name them all (e.g., the people who built your computer, your great-great-grandmother, the person who delivers your packages). And the more successful you become, the more people you will depend on. Reach out to as many of these people as you can, today. Keep these people happily on your team.
In Good to Great, Jim Collins explains that the most successful organizations are the ones who 1) get the right people on the bus, and 2) keep them on the bus. Retention is essential.
And I’m not just talking about employees. I’m talking about friends, confidants, spouses, parents, children, mentors, teachers, customers, and more.
When I look at my own life, it’s almost embarrassing how much support I need to do what I’m trying to do. But I’m not embarrassed. Instead, I’m grateful. And hopefully, the people in my life know just how important they are to me.
The “lone ranger” mentality which plagues most of business is a sham. It gets in the way of progress and innovation which can only come from meaningful collaboration.
Embrace dependency by deepening your relationships with your lifeline relationships and the team around you.
Don’t take your people for granted. They are keeping you in your slipstream. Without them, you’re lost.
Reach out to them immediately and frequently. Express genuine love and appreciation. Don’t take them for granted. Be a servant-leader by serving them as they serve you.
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*This article was inspired by Kurt Walker who read SLIPSTREAM TIME HACKING and asked, “How do you ensure you stay in the SLIPSTREAM?”