In the Spanish TV program “El Rincón de Pensar” directed by Risto Mejide, he interviewed the well-known chef and presenter Alberto Chicote years ago. In the middle of the interview, Chicote comments on an anecdote about a trip he made to Kenya. He claims that being on a walking safari (a safari without cars, walking) in the middle of the African jungle, he was very scared. He was accompanied by a local Maasai guide named William; a very tough man experienced in surviving in a very dangerous environment. At one point, Chicote asks his guide if he is not scared. He tells her no since he is armed with a machete and a spear. And Chicote replies by asking him about his own safety. And William answers him saying “if you’re alone, you’re dead“. The guide was referring to the fact that Chicote would die quickly in the jungle if he was not well accompanied. Alberto affirms that this quote marked him deeply. And that he thinks of it very often. You can see the video (in Spanish) by clicking here.
I really liked this anecdote because it perfectly sums up a really powerful idea, WITHOUT A TEAM, WE HAVE NO FUTURE. And this basic but powerful idea, in my opinion, we do not have enough in mind. THE TEAM IS KEY TO BEING SUCCESSFUL NOT ONLY ON A COLLECTIVE LEVEL BUT ALSO ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL. And in our environment, we still have a very individualistic view of challenges. We have put a lot of focus on analyzing successful people. In how such a person or another is. We tend to attribute almost divine qualities to the most respected and admired people in any profession: successful athletes, business tycoons, great innovators, or brilliant politicians. And I do not deny that great achievers do not have brilliant characteristics. But I am fully convinced that TOO MUCH FOCUS HAS BEEN PLACED ON THE PERSON AND, UNFORTUNATELY, THE GROUP, THE TEAM, HAS BEEN FORGOTTEN. For sure, behind every successful person, there is a successful team. No one can achieve an important challenge if they haven’t built a team. As Chicote learned, “if you are alone, you are dead”.
So, ask yourself what challenges you have in your life, both personally and professionally. And think about how you can face them without being alone. Which people can help you, and how can you build a good team. Also, keep in mind that THE MORE DIFFICULT THE CHALLENGE, THE GREATER THE NEED FOR AND IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A TEAM. Leadership expert John C. Maxwell explained it perfectly in his magnificent book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. One of the laws is what Maxwell calls “the Mount Everest Law”, and he sums it up in one sentence. As the challenge grows, the need for teamwork increases. That is, to climb any small mountain, you may not need anyone. But to climb Everest, you will surely need a great team (sherpas, guides, travel agencies, personal trainers, dietitians…).
I firmly believe that IN OUR CULTURE, SOMETIMES ASKING FOR HELP OR NEEDING OTHER PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS IS SEEN AS A WEAKNESS. It seems to me a serious mistake. In American culture, teamwork, seeking help from other people (partners, friends, coaches, mentors or specialized professionals) is much more common. And so, it goes. In most professions, in sports, in business… they get truly extraordinary results.
So, remember well the quote, If you are alone, you are dead. In other words, think about who can accompany you, who can help you with your main challenges, and how you can create a good team by your side. It sure will be worth it. Because as the writer Helen Keller said, “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”.