Sir Edmund Hilary didn’t reach the top of Mount Everest by himself. Tenzing Norgay was his climbing partner for the final push to the summit, and they had a team of other climbers at support bases along the way.
We all do better with the support of a team. Even if you’re an introvert and prefer to work alone, you won’t achieve as much in life by always going solo. There’s an old African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, then go together.’ I absolutely love being around young people who want to make a positive difference in the world and who have an abundance of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. There are many older people (like me) who want to help you achieve your dreams and goals by sharing their wisdom and experience. There’s no point in us dying without passing on our knowledge – we’d much rather download it into YOU!
It makes good sense to have a mentor or a coach who cares about your success. Why try to figure out life by yourself if someone else is willing to help? Every ‘self made’ millionaire will tell you that although they did the work, they would never have got there without the advice, experience and expertise of other people. You may need to pay for specialised advice, but that’s a worthwhile investment in your future.
If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together
Not everyone in your support team will be older – in fact it’s best to have a range of people around you. The important thing is that these people have the desire to see you reach your potential. If you are still living at home, I encourage you to gain the support of your family. Your family should be your greatest cheerleaders. Having said that, while it’s optimal, it’s not always possible to have that support. Sometimes, if your goal is important to you, you just have to go it alone.
You can’t afford to surround yourself with friends who either don’t believe in what you’re doing, or who actively attempt to distract you. These are not the friends you need right now. You may have been on the same path as them in the past, but if that has changed, so must your choice of those you hang out with.
My husband Simon and I started a business when I was 22 years old and he was 26. Most of our friends didn’t understand what we were doing, and nor did our families. Simon’s mother never really supported us. Years later, when we became successful, she became neutral – but she was never positive or encouraging. She kept hoping Simon would get a real job! My dad was curious but confused until we became successful, then he wished he’d been more involved. Meanwhile, my mother always thought we were clever and encouraged us from the beginning, and her support made a big difference.