You are not John Wayne. Life isn’t a solo journey.
A huge part of my personal growth in 2011 has been from this single realization: I can’t get very far alone. And it’s my natural tendency to try. In groups, I want to lead. In business, I want to call the shots. On the soccer field, I want the ball.
“To achieve your goals in life, I realized, it matters less how smart you are, how much innate talent you’re born with, or even, more eye-opening to me, where you came from and how much you started out with. Sure all these are important, but they mean little if you don’t understand one thing: You can’t get there alone. In fact, you can’t get very far at all.”
This book opened my eyes to the importance of reaching out to others (even when it’s risky and uncomfortable) in a selfless, genuine way.
“The real winners – those with astounding careers, warm relationships, and unstoppable charisma – are those people who put it all out there and don’t waste a bunch of time and energy trying to be something (or someone) they’re not. Charm is matter of being yourself.”
The fact that we all have unique knowledge, skills, and abilities means that every person I meet is my superior in some way. And therefore, an opportunity to learn and to help one another.
One of my favorite parts of the book is on being genuine in conversation through the power of vulnerability. By letting go of pretense and the “I’ve got it all figured out and my life is perfect” ruse in small talk, you open yourself to creating a real connection with people. The author calls it, “Transcending the trivialities of polite chitchat.”
One reason for such pretense is the apparent risk of being genuine. But have you ever noticed that people with a low tolerance for risk, whose behavior is guided by fear, have a low propensity for success?
“In America, and especially in business, we’re brought up to cherish John Wayne individualism. People who consciously court others to become involved in their lives are seen as schmoozers and brown-nosers. Over the years, I learned that the outrageous number of misperceptions clouding those who are active relationship-builders is equaled only by the misperceptions of how relationship-building is done properly. What I saw had nothing to do with manipulation of quid pro quo. Over time, I came to see reaching out to people as a way to make a difference in people’s lives as well as a way to explore and learn and enrich my own.”