When was the last time you said thank you to the people who made a difference in your life? And, do you realize just how many people have offered assistance along the way? Do you realize that teamwork is what made the difference for you?
There is no “I” in TEAM
Shawn Achor’s book, Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being, spends quite a bit of time explaining why success is not a solitary event. That, in fact, it is the efforts of a team or support staff that allows real success. A few statements of agreement come from names you might recognize:
- Steve Jobs, late founder and CEO of Apple: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
- Reid Hoffman, cofounder and chairman of LinkedIn: “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”
- Nick Saban, University of Alabama football team: “…For him, success is all about the team’s win, not a superstar’s stats.”
Achor reminds us that the one thing that predicts long-term success and well-being is our connection to others. It is others who provide resources and support. In fact, social connectedness is a predictor of thriving academically and personally, of well-being and optimism, a buffer against depression, and a predictor of long-term performance in whatever career you have chosen. He offers, as an example, IBM, the company that once supported the idea of letting staff work remotely, happy to reduce the cost of office space when more employees worked from home. In 2017 IBM stopped giving employees the option of working from home when they learned from research that people work faster, are more creative, and more collaborative when they work together. That definitely puts a new spin on the phrase Yea, Team!!!
What we should remember
So, what lessons do you need to absorb to increase your happiness and level of success?
- Realize that success is less about how smart you are, as an individual, and more about how well you can work with, and be a part of, a team.
- When you help others achieve and shine, your own potential will increase by virtue of a positive feedback loop leading to more resources, energy, and experiences.
- You pick up what you surround yourself with. When possible, surround yourself with positive voices to increase your ability to solve problems, deal with challenges, increase your positivity and motivation, and work toward your goals. This includes not only people you know, but authors you read, music you listen to, and television you watch.
- Develop more diversity within your circle of friends and acquaintances; this will allow you the opportunity to hear a greater variety of opinions and have more options for success.
What we can do now
And what should you do, now that you know the secret sauce?
- Be authentic when you reach out to others; be brave enough to admit when you are going through a hard time and need support. Your vulnerable self will allow others to express their vulnerabilities, too.
- Contact one person each day to thank them for how they helped or supported you, being sure that you include specific examples of how they have assisted you.
- Ask yourself, and make sure you can list specifics, to the question “How have I helped my team win?”
The biggest message, one for us all to remember, is that the idea of being the “best” at anything is never accomplished alone. Whether it was a teacher, a coach, friend, or even a family member who simply shouted encouragement from the stands during a rainstorm, someone helped you succeed.
We will never hit our potential if we are alone, and there are always others to thank.