By Patrick E. Alcorn
The secret is out. The most successful people in the world don’t just rely on raw talent alone. Those that achieve the honorable, work with someone who can take them further and help them get there faster.Those who become champions in life recognize that real growth requires the humility to seek help. And they understand that success is a journey that requires a trustworthy guide — a coach.
If you are seeking to be more, do more or have more in your life, you cannot go at it alone.
Ask the masters of success. They will tell you that you can get to your destination faster and with less friction, if you leverage your relationship with someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way to tap into your potential. Obstacles and roadblocks become opportunities for growth and achievement in the presence of an advocate who believes in your greatness.
I had the opportunity to meet and connect with multiple champions of change. In the 5th grade, I received private music lessons from Arthur C. Bartner, the long-time noted band director for the USC Trojan Marching Band, who influenced 50 years of musicians. As a 6th grader, I had the opportunity to meet the famed American-Bahamian actor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Sidney Poitier, who was instrumental in diversifying Hollywood and paving the way for Black actors. By the time I was in junior high school, I had spent my afternoons in the attentive presence of six-term African American Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, who influenced two generations of policymakers and leaders. I attended Hollywood High School surrounded by the children of entertainment giants, and my undergraduate alma mater is the home of the “Long Gray Line,” from which many past, present and future world and business leaders ascend.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I heard Zig Ziglar say, “You can have anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want,” that I began to understand the importance of relationships. I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, Give and Take by Adam Grant and many, many more books on building effective relationships. I began learning the principles and honing the practices that enabled me to connect with and add value to people who are making a difference.
John Maxwell’s Law of the Inner Circle states, “a leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him.” In this day of strategic alliances and power networks, it’s literally impossible to have long-lasting success without world-class relationship skills, including in social media. According to Jessica Leber, a staff editor and writer for Fast Company’s Co.Exist, the old six degrees of separation theory has shrunk (because of Facebook and other social media). You are now merely four people away from every other human being on Earth. Just think about it! You know Bill, who knows Judy, who knows Lynn, who knows Javier, who knows anyone else you would ever want to know. In essence, you are networked with the entire world. As such, you have a direct connection to people who can empower you to achieve new opportunities and live at a higher level.
So, don’t go at it alone. Life does not have to be an obscure and isolated game of thrones. Life can be an amazing experience where the battle does end when you die. Like the card game where you challenge your opponent to produce a card with a higher face value than your card, the player with the high card wins. You can stack the deck and ensure that you hold the high card more often by connecting your life to someone who lifts you up, encourages you and shares your vision for the future. A coach can increase the likelihood that you will come out on top by empowering you to do all you can with all you are for those who most need what you have to offer.
You cannot play the game of life with just your unique talents. Success is a team sport, and you must leverage empowering relationships. Apply the Law of the Inner Circle and surround yourself with people you admire and respect: people you want to become like as you grow. Find someone who can get you in the game.
Patrick E. Alcorn is the Founder of Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference and Director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center University of Texas at Arlington. He is a Certified Executive Leadership Coach who empowers entrepreneurs to get up, get out and keep moving.