‘Self-Made’ is Not a Thing: It Takes a Team

We hear a description all the time about successful, and usually incredibly wealthy, people: self-made. It sounds impressive, but can it really be true? Can an individual achieve their wildest dreams without the assistance of another soul? Personally, I think not. Keep reading to find out why!

There’s No Such Thing as Self-Made

The dictionary defines self-made as “made such by one’s own actions especially having achieved success or prominence by one’s own efforts.” Many people have co-opted the expression to proudly describe themselves – a self-made man or a self-made millionaire. Now, I’m not one to discount anyone’s hard work, but I have to call baloney when I see it.

While I understand the allure of using the term, frankly, I don’t buy it. Here’s a reality check: it took parents to create us and bring us into the world – we certainly didn’t do that on our own. Someone raised us; our teachers and mentors educated us. Then there’s the person who gave you your first job, your first chance to prove yourself. And what about the one whose belief in you gave you confidence.

Yes, you powered your engine to get where you are today and I commend you. I salute you. Because you put sustained effort into an endeavor that worked, I celebrate you. You poured your dedication, talent, long hours, and sweat equity into something worthwhile. Therefore you have earned the right to sing your own praises. But just be sure to acknowledge those who helped you along the way. Rarely, if ever, do we accomplish anything meaningful alone.

Take a moment to consider your greatest achievement. Now ask yourself these questions:

  • Who was instrumental in attaining that goal?
  • Did I accomplish it 100% on my own, with 0% support from anyone else?

If your answers included A. Someone other than yourself and B. No, then you already know that you are not self-made. You likely understand the value of teamwork. Perhaps it’s time to truly put that team to work – for you.

It Takes a Team

In a popular Master Class, Anna Wintour outlines the steps she takes to build a strong and efficient team. She said, “A team exists to allow an endeavor to grow, scale, and thrive in a way that would be literally impossible for one person to do.” I couldn’t agree more!

Some goals – particularly the ones that are worthy, ambitious, or true agents of change – require a team. Even if you could climb to the top all on your own, you would find it quite lonely without family, friends, customers, or colleagues. These individuals are there to support, assist, challenge, and inspire you.

Even Google knows how important team building is. Go ahead and run a search for “team-building” and you’ll have nearly 5 billion results in about a nano-second. Clearly, we are onto something big.

Meet the Ascentim Team

I am not self-made, and I will proudly admit it. As a small business owner, I consider it an essential investment to build a strong team. I may be the founder and visionary behind my passion project, Ascentim, but many people helped bring my vision to life.

Below are just a few of my trusted team members:

You won’t see any of these exceptional professionals out in front, but I trust them implicitly. Behind the scenes at Ascentim, these folks make big things happen and make me look good. Lightening my load and taking work off my plate allows me to be a better leader, coach, and entrepreneur.

Personal Board of Advisors

It isn’t just the business team that helps keep this train on the tracks. I also took the time to build and maintain what I call my personal board of advisors. This informal, diverse, sensational cast of characters is my sounding board, my reality check, and my cheer squad.

Do you have your own personal board of advisors? You should (and Ascentim can help with that). Watch this space for an upcoming blog where I’ll share the 6 key roles you absolutely must have on your personal board. Spoiler alert: one of those roles is a coach!

Tips for Building a Great Team

Ready to start building your team? Here are the 7 steps your need to take:

  1. Assess all of the skills and experiences that it will take to be successful in the undertaking at hand.
  2. Define each of the roles that need to be filled. Pay close attention to any gaps in your skillset so you can find others that complement you.
  3. Don’t compromise on talent. Seek out and hire the best people you can find because the best attracts the best. A team that is motivated and talented is a recipe for success.
  4. Diversify – age, gender, personality types. All the evidence proves that diverse teams are more effective, creative, and profitable. Who isn’t represented on your team, and how will you draw them in?
  5. Work on your leadership skills. Become the kind of person others want to follow. Respect goes a long way and should always go both ways. Ask for feedback from your team on how to support them.
  6. Be clear and consistent in your communications. Answer questions before they are even asked.
  7. Recognize and reward success.

It’s More Fun This Way

Matthew Woodring Stover once said, “If you take out the team in teamwork, it’s just work. Now, who wants that?” If you have been approaching your career like a lone wolf and going it alone, it’s time to come in from the cold.

With the right team around you, you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible. You will find yourself more energized, and less stressed. And, as an added bonus, there will probably be lots of laughter.

If you’re ready to build that team and you don’t want to sift through 5 billion Google results to learn how to do it right, Ascentim stands at the ready to coach you through it. We’re happy to be a part of your team and a footnote in your success story!

Picture of Lisa L. Baker

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life.

She shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up – get connected, get promoted, get wealth – and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

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