Not Self-Made, but Team-Made

The other day a friend of mine recommended I read the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris, and I immediately hopped into Amazon to buy it. The moment it arrived I hopped onto my couch, cracked open the 686-page behemoth, and started to read it. I didn’t make it past page 2 of the Foreword, so for those of you who think you’re nestling into a book review, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’ve got something else for you instead. On page 2, what Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote in the Forward made me pull the book back and think. He centers the entire Forward around the myth of one’s ability to be “self made”. He states “to accept that mantle discounts every person and every piece of advice that got me here. And it gives the wrong impression – that you could do it alone. I couldn’t. And odds are, you can’t either.”

He’s right.

What’s making me think about this comment (and the ones before and after it) isn’t the notion that none of us are here without the sweat, trust and faith of other people. Nope–I know you’ve got that. What’s running my mind ragged is the reality that we don’t suck more value out of that truth, especially with the teams we’re on.

Think about it… the last time you were stuck, stumbled or didn’t know how to approach something, what did you do? Lie in bed stressing over it? Googled it and surfed the web for hours? Talked it through with your husband/wife/cat? No offense to your bed, cat, or Google, but none of these paths of least resistance is the best choice. What about your team? Let’s just look at all of the really successful people we can think of offhand (you do that and I’ll keep typing). Who made them great? Who influenced them the most? Who gave them their greatest opportunities? Often it was the people right next to them at work.

So I ask you: Who is there to make you? Who has that kind of influence or opportunity on your team and in your life? And why aren’t you hanging out with them right now asking for their advice? Go do it.