When I think about success, I recall Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Definition of Success”:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
I appreciate the way this poem gets to the heart of success–it’s not just about one person existing alone; success is about people connecting and sharing their experiences. In professional environments, I have often seen people find greater success solving problems when they work with a partner. Better yet, it’s important to have a T.E.A.M mentality: Together Everyone Achieves More.
Some of us are self-motivated, and once we make the decision to go after something, we do it. For others there needs to be a person behind us moving us along – a coach. Besides the obvious sports coaches, today there are people to coach us in every area in our life. There are career coaches, life coaches, fitness coaches, business coaches…
Sometimes they are called consultants; people who you can consult to get good input on how to reach your goals: financial consultants, marketing consultants, investment consultants, make-up consultants…
To reach your personal goals, make a list of people you think would make a good coach or consultant to help you find (and take!) the right steps to your life goals.
Chances are that what you are trying to accomplish in your life has been done before. Who do you know that has been down the road you want to follow? What qualities do they have that you need? How did they do what they did? Would they be willing to share their knowledge? Can you follow in their footsteps?
Read the “Richest Man in Babylon.” Learn the value of having mentors – a group of like-minded people who can inspire and fill the gaps in what you can and cannot do on your own.
Build a mastermind group. In Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich, he demonstrates the value of having his own special group of people who have an interest in his success. If you don’t have all the skills you need—and most people do not—gather together a group of talented people who can complement your talents.
The best people for your group will be those who have a vested interest in you—people who will also benefit if you are successful. For instance, in my business I have people we count on to provide us with products and services for our business. The more successful we are, the more of their services we use. That means our success helps their success. So we have asked them to be part of our team. We also started a program many years ago called “Friends Helping Friends.” We ask our clients and business associates to introduce us to their friends, family, organization members, and business associates. When they do and these people become our clients, we reward the introducing client with invitations to special events including our “Friends Helping Friends” Gala event that is held every October.
Most of us already know many people who can help us, but for some of us we will have to go out and find those people. This is “networking,” a process to get you out in front of the people who have the information and skills you need to reach your goals. Sometimes networking starts by joining a group with similar interests to yours. This can be a social or business group. Sometimes networking just means being out in your community, getting involved in your church, attending classes at the local community college, or working to raise funds for a charity.
But the fact is, we never have to go it alone. When we meet a challenge and we know we can’t move forward without more information or experience, we need to find the people who have it and make them a part of our team.
The most successful people know what they know and what they don’t know, and they surround themselves with a T.E.A.M. of people who fill in the blanks.