Success Is A Team Effort (Or, Laura Eats Humble Pie)

Today I was working through a client call and he mentioned Ed Mylett, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker I’d never heard of before.

I Googled him, ready to be cynical. I generally try to steer clear of larger-than-life media personalities — I don’t need the sound bytes or the ra-ra inspirational chatter — but promptly found myself eating humble pie.

His Wikipedia page describes him as a team-made millionaire. His website home page talks about what his parents did to set him on a good trajectory. His Twitter is full of advice about prioritising the people in your life and being kind no matter how big a deal you are.

Now, I’m not about to become a die-hard Mylett fan — there’s still some crazy stuff about working 18 hours a day — but what I AM a fan of is his acknowledgement that success does not happen in silos.

I don’t believe the myth that people can be entirely self-made, and I find this both liberating and exhilarating.

There is so much existing technology and so much access to information that there is nothing you will ever have to do entirely from scratch or figure out entirely on your own.

Whether you want to write a novel, unpack your past, cook something wildly ambitious or raise well-adjusted humans, there are other people out there who have done it, and those people can help you.

They’ve built tools you can use to make the process easier. They’ve written books about it. They’ve created communities of other people trying to do something similar.

This doesn’t mean that your idea isn’t original or that you shouldn’t bother with your thing because someone else has already done it.

It means that whenever you get stuck, or you need some perspective, or you don’t have the technical chops, or you just want some company along the way, it’s there.

You don’t have to invent anything (say, the Internet, or the pen, or the scale, or language, or any of the other things that enable us to succeed) to be able to make your thing into a reality.

Someone has already proven that ideas like yours can and do work.

All you have to do is begin, be curious and willing to experiment, iterate your way forward, and keep putting your hand up for help if you don’t know what comes next.

Success is a team effort. Sometimes the team will be spread far across time and space. But you’re part of it already, and you have everything you need to begin.