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The United States is the home of the rugged individualist.  Or is it?

We like to think that we don’t need help.  We like to think that we do it on our own.  The truth is nothing really happens in a vacuum.  There are always people and things that conspire to help us along the way.

My own path from arrogance.

When I first started my business the worst thing that could have ever happen became true.  I had a couple of great years of success.  Boy, was I full of myself.  There was nothing you could tell me.  I knew it all.  Arrogance was dripping out of every pore I had.

Then guess what happened?  The Universe decided it was time for me to learn a lesson.  I went from doing everything right to doing almost nothing right.  My bad decisions and lack of knowledge almost put me out of business.

As it turns out, my first few years in business were lucky.  I had a tail wind with me.  When you start out and you experience dumb luck success it’s easy to believe that you caused the good things that happened.  For me, the truth was some of my success was because of my actions and more was just luck.

Do you admit that you don’t know it all?

I was lucky for a second time when I went about asking for help.  I happened to have been at a financial controls meeting the National Vending Association was sponsoring.  I started a conversation with some very wise and experienced faculty members.  They told me in very unceremonious terms that if I continue on the course I was on I was going to go out of business.  That was a hit to my ego and knocked more than a little wind out of my arrogant ego.

I had a choice to make.  I could continue believing that I was master of the universe or I could ask for help.  Luckily for me, I decided to ask for help and that help was a major part of having my business see another day. 

What about you, are you willing to admit that you don’t know it all?  Are you willing to ask for help?

When you plan do you know who you want help from?

Now, when I plan I have a section in my goal maps for who’s going to help me get to where I want to go.  In my health goal map I have the medical and non-medical people who are going to help with me living a healthy life.  In my business plans I’m very specific about who I believe can help if I ask.

Before I even start writing down what I’m going to do to achieve a particular outcome I write down who I need help from.  I’ve gone from thinking I was master of the universe to realizing that nothing in my life that’s been worthwhile happened without the help of others.

Have you ever asked for help from someone who you thought was unapproachable?

This is something that I find very interesting.  I’m constantly surprised how many times I’ve approached people who I thought were out of my league only to find that they were happy to have a conversation with me.  The amount of free help I’ve had from mentors over the years has created a lot of value that I had no right to expect.

I’ve also realized that I need to spend time with others helping them.  I like the term pay it forward.  Do you ask and give help to others?  You might find that people are much more willing to help than you think.  You also might find that when you give help, there’s a big payoff for you in it that you probably never expected.

Life is more fun when you accept help from others.

Let’s face it, we’re social animals.  We like to be around others.  Even if you’re an introvert there are times you like to be around others.

I know that when I’m able to work with others life is just more fun.  It’s lonely being by yourself.  Don’t be lonely, embrace working with others.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Topics: advisors, trust, second opinions

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