‘There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.’
– George Shinn
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about achieving through others. Achieving our business goals and personal goals. The quote above alludes to something similar but let’s look at it from a different angle.
The quote could be seen as a little controversial and even offend some. Especially those who believe they are self-made. Consequently, I can’t recall the term ‘self-made woman’ being bandied about but I am happy to be told I am wrong.
When I saw this quote it did make me think, we definitely don’t do it on our own. There are family, friends, workmates, advisors, suppliers who in some way play a part in us becoming who we are.
In particular, mentors have a major role to play in who we become. Some years ago, I spoke at a business event about the importance of mentors in our lives, both professionally and personally. I also challenged those in attendance to be mentors to others. Of course, that may be laced with peril if the mentoring isn’t exactly productive. But that’s life!
I myself was fortunate to have three mentors in my professional life, both from a formal and informal perspective. They not only impacted me professionally but also personally. They challenged me, let me fail, guided me, questioned me, questioned my thinking, and provided me with opportunities to grow and thrive. I will always be grateful for those experiences.
I have also been fortunate to mentor others. Sometimes formally, sometimes informally. It is a privilege to be a part of watching someone else evolve and see the world differently.
Therefore, we are never totally self-made. Yet we do need to take the opportunities that present themselves and run with them. Who knows where they will end up. Sometimes the outcome may not be great but it will still be a learning. Every experience is a learning.
Who has helped you along the way? Are you surrounding yourself with people who will help you to grow? Is it time for you to guide someone on their course?