Why Successful People Need Help

If you're treating your work like a solo sport, you're not likely to find success.


Want to make the most of your career? Reach out and ask for help.

Sure, we live in a culture that celebrates rugged self-sufficiency, but it's a mistake to think you can do it all alone. You may have talent and determination, but if you insist on clinging to a lone-wolf mentality, you're likely to fall far short of your potential.

Over the years, I have interviewed a bazillion (or so) people who were highly successful in their careers. From extreme athletes to entrepreneurs, from photographers to CEOs, they all shared one common response when I asked about the keys to that success: "I couldn't have done it alone."

Whether that support came from mentors who shared invaluable insights, family members who gave them emotional support, colleagues who opened doors of opportunity, or people they trusted to tell them they were doing something stupid, they all needed that external assistance.

Try this: Ask yourself, "What kind of support do I already have? What kind of support do I need? Where can I find it?" Some areas to examine include:

  • Knowledge: What knowledge do I need? Where can I learn it?
    • Emotional: Who supports me when I'm down? Who celebrates my successes with me?
      • Motivation: Where can I find motivation and inspiration?
        • Perspective: Who can help me get an objective perspective?
          • Opportunity: Who can help me open doors?
          • It's not a one-way street, of course. It needs to go both ways. So, build relationships. Look for opportunities to support others, whether through direct reciprocation or "paying it forward." The more support you give, the better positioned you are to receive it.

            After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.


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