“Always remember that you cannot get where you want to go on your own. You will need the help of others to guide you on your way.” – John Maxwell
When it came to school or work, I always preferred to do my own thing, even if it meant doing more work. I always believed that to be one of my strengths growing up, that I was a hard worker who didn’t NEED help, I could do it alone.
I called it being independent.
My wife calls it being stubborn.
I called it independent because I believed that my success or failure completely relied on my own ability and work ethic, and I believe I was half right. My failure is DEFINITELY caused by what I saw as an independent work ethic, by relying on myself and refusing the help of others. This “independence” was anything but, and something I understand now to be, as my wife so kindly puts it, stubbornness. I will say being stubborn and wanting to do things on my own is still something I work on. It’s part of my own personal growth and an area I will continue to grow in.
But if I want to grow and gain more success in my life, I need to find help in others. Often times we look at successful people around us as people who either became that way by their own will or got lucky, but in reality, behind EVERY successful person is a mentor that helped them get there. Here are just a few examples:
Oprah Winfrey – Mentored by a great poet and writer, the late Maya Angelou. “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life, Mentors are important and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship.”
Darrell Green – A former Super Bowl champion, he was mentored by his middle school football coach. “I had a coach who in a different way encouraged me that I could be a great running athlete… He was always encouraging me to participate, and I did. And so I think he helped me to identify the possibilities, which–I never even thought about.”
Walter Cronkite – Influenced by his high school journalism teacher, Fred Birney. “He taught me so much in those high school [journalism] classes, and by securing me those early jobs, he cemented my desire to be a reporter for the rest of my life. He was my major inspiration. I always credit Fred Birney for my career.”
Everyone successful person has had the help of others I make it a priority to constantly look back on my life and reflect on those who have helped me get where I am today, who have helped me when I wanted it and when I didn’t, people who helped me achieve goals that I never would have been able to on my own. It reminds me of the importance of having a mentor, which isn’t always easy to find. I’ve had many mentors come and go, some of which I didn’t even realize were mentors at the time. As I write this, being in a new area around new people, I am always trying to find people who can mentor me, who can pour into my life in areas where they are successful and I want to grow.
Do you have a mentor? Someone who can challenge you and hold you accountable to your goals, but also gives sound advice and encouragement? If not, what’s stopping you? If you want to grow, you need to be intentional about learning from others.