Whenever I hear the term “self-made” man, I find myself cringing. I don’t know anyone who has made it all alone. Some of you have achieved goals with the help of family, friends, or classmates; others may have been motivated by the voices of naysayers. Whatever the case, the fact is that you did not get where you are today all by yourself.
Just as in basketball, in life there are times when you get to pick your teammates and others when you don’t. In either case, it’s important to know who is on your team and what each member offers. Some players might bring jump shots, power moves, defense, or hustle. Business people also bring diverse strengths to their game: selling products, managing the books, organizing events or building work teams. In your family, each member might contribute something different to keep the household running — walking the dog, doing the dishes, or grocery shopping. It’s important that each member of the team understands her role and why her position is critical to the team. You should do the same type of assessment on yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What contributions do you bring to the team?
When you are fortunate to have the opportunity to select your team, first get clear on what you need. While it is human nature to gravitate towards people who are like you, keep in mind you don’t need ten versions of yourself on your team. You need people who bring skills that you don’t have or that aren’t your strong suits. Think about when you were in high school or college and had to work on a group project. Did you partner with your friends in the class, or did you select the students who would get the job done? I have to confess that as a high school student, I wasn’t mature enough to select teammates objectively. Was the shy, unpopular kid I overlooked someone who could have helped the group get an A vs. a B on an assignment? I’ll never know because I wanted to team up with my friends so we would have a legitimate excuse to talk in class! However, after having to carry the load for a few of my slack companions, I quickly learned to make better selections.
This is an excerpt from Bernadette Johnson’s (now Harris) book entitled: “Life and Basketball: 7 Locker Room Lessons That Score Big In Life.