“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” ~ John Donne
You know the phrase, “No man is an island.” You may not realize that the sage observation dates back to 1624 when John Donne, the founder of the Metaphysical Poets, wrote it in Meditation 17 (Devotions upon Emergent Occasions). Donne knew then, as hopefully you do today, that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. While this certainly makes us think twice about what role we’re playing in the world at large, it’s also a reminder that our success, in business and in life, doesn’t happen independently. We thrive when we’re supported.
Here’s another thing to consider: Support doesn’t just mean having a reassuring spouse or an encouraging boss; nor does it mean finding a mentor or personal coach. Supporting you is a team effort. That’s right. If you haven’t already, you need to build yourself a mentoring team to include these 6 players.
The Short-Term Tour Guide
When you mapped out your plans for this year, what does the 12-month finish line look like? What hurdles to you see laying ahead in getting there? Your first Team You member should be someone who has recently cleared those hurdles and landed in the vicinity of your near-term goals. The challenges you’ll face (those you expect, and those you may not), as well as the potential solutions to those issues, will still be fresh in the mind of your short-term tour guide.
There have been 221 player-managers in Major League Baseball; the most recent of whom was Pete Rose, who played backup catcher while managing from 1984-1986. Although, the MLB hasn’t altogether abandoned the idea, today you’re more apt to find retired players taking the managerial reigns. There’s a good reason for that, and one you should consider when filling out Team You’s roster. A good coach has the experience to take in the big picture and guide position-players (in this case, you) to successful outcomes. These individuals are likely older than you and have more experience within your industry.
It never hurts to know someone who knows someone. The Networker has a well-developed list of connections whom they don’t mind introducing you to. Whether it’s opening the door to potential investors, employees, or clients, this person is all about getting the right people together; and lucky you, you’re one of them.
The Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
You are pretty spectacular, but let’s face it, you’re not a star at everything. Team You needs a few folks that can help advise and guide you through the things you don’t know. Maybe you’re a bit of a technophobe who must reach a measure of comfort collaborating through Google Drive. Find yourself a tech-savvy mentor who can show you the ropes. You may know enough about social media to make sure your old college friends saw the picture of your kid wearing your alma mater sweatshirt for the first time, but that doesn’t mean you know enough to turn Twitter into a marketing goldmine. An SME team player can help you with that, too.
We all need that one person who ready to spark a standing ovation for us when we achieve a goal, as well as send us that “Chin up, you’ve got this!” text when we’re wallowing in self-doubt. No matter how confident and ready you are, Team You needs that person who is prepared to effuse about your accomplishments and rally you when you need it most.
Sure, you need to believe in yourself and your goals. Sometimes, however, you’re just off-track and need someone willing (and able) to tell you so. This role isn’t about bringing you down or nay-saying every good idea you have. The realist is the one who will help you identify the pros and the cons. They’ll be the ones who say things like, “Sure, you could turn that into a business, but keep in mind, the market is already saturated with businesses that do something similar. How are you going to reach out above the fray and grab your share of the market?”
Who is on Team You? Is there a team player we didn’t highlight in this article? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and let me know what types of mentors make up your support circle.