The "Self-Made Person" is a Myth: How to Get People You Admire on Your Team

In our blog post on the power of voicing our commitments, we talked about how beneficial it can be to share your goals with others. But what more can you do to expand your support circle and make it just a little easier to start working toward your dreams?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the self-made person is a myth. Nobody achieves anything on their own.

Our society loves to idolize the individual who overcomes all odds, on their own, to reach success. The simple truth is that these people had help. People paved the way, opened doors, offered advice, prescribed resources, made introductions, provided access, and directly aided in that person’s success.

Not only have successful people had help, but they want to help you!

You CAN access those people who have done incredible things, because many of them do want to reach out and help the next person. They know that they couldn’t have gotten to where they are without help, and they want to repay the favor.

You may be thinking, “What? I’ve never met any of these people!” Yes, you have! You just never made it clear what you were after. And as a result, they weren’t aware that you even wanted help, or how they could help you.

Here are some simple steps you can do to successfully get people on your team who can help you toward your goal:

  1. KNOW WHY THIS PERSON CAN HELP.

    Before approaching everyone you know for support, take a moment to think about who SPECIFICALLY has the resources that you need to move toward your goal. Resources can include:

    • Knowledge or access to specific information.

    • Experience related to what you want to achieve

    • A mind that can offer critical feedback.

    The people who have these things to offer can be connections you already have, connections that others have, or people who you have no association with yet. Make a list and categorize these people based on degrees of separation and what they have that you want.

  2. GET CLEAR ON THE RESULT YOU’RE AFTER.

    Next, you need to develop a concise and honest message to get someone’s attention…but doesn’t make you sound like you’re a salesperson. That connection will disconnect immediately if they get that vibe. Your message should:

    • Clearly outlines your goals, displaying the steps you’ve already been taking yourself. This helps people see that you are serious, and an object in motion deserving of an additional boost.

    • Clearly communicate the type of support you’re looking for (that you developed in Step 1)

    • Include a request for connection that is respectful of the person’s time and convenient for them to accommodate

    • Give the person an easy out if they do not wish to help directly.

    If the person you contact does take the “out” you provide, the conversation isn’t over! You can close by asking the magic question, “Is there anyone else you know that I can talk to?” Usually, they’ll be more than happy to offer another connection.

  3. MAKE IT A TWO-WAY STREET

    People are not meant to accommodate your requests and then disappear. When you invite others into your support circle, the best way to build it is by creating a relationship. Keeping in regular contact with people allows you to:

    • Make sure that every interaction isn’t about asking for something.

    • Share your accomplishments.

    • Stay top of mind and potentially receive additional support.

    • Identify opportunities to repay the favor and support others.

    • Build lifelong friendships.

    Create a plan to stay on top of the relationships you build and you will find that reaching your goals becomes much more fulfilling. This can be done by planning regular communication into your schedule, setting an alarm in your calendar, or setting up followup meetings as you part ways in each conversation. 

You’ve thought about your goals and how others can become allies on your journey. Now how about the other side of things. Others need your support as well. Have you offered it to anyone lately? 

You can think about the same three steps above in reverse. Think about others in your life who have made it known what they are going after. Do they need a type of support that you could offer? Have you offered support to someone who hasn’t taken you up on it yet? Follow up with those people to see if they’ll consider taking your help.

At the end of the day we must do things with people and for people because connection and relationship are what create true fulfillment in life.

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