Nobody ever accomplishes anything great alone. Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to participate in a presentation at the Utah Podcast summit. The topic of the presentation was how to build a great team, or the benefit of building a great team. The host from the summit introduced as and mentioned something along the lines of nobody ever accomplishes anything great alone, and I have been thinking about that a lot since then. Like, I really can’t stop thinking about it, and it seems to be a theme that has repeated itself in the things I have binged and watched since then. This whole idea won’t leave me alone. Which I guess is good, because if I want to accomplish anything great, I can’t b e alone.
Let me give you an example. After the summit, I watched, binge watched really, all of Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time. And this concept stood out to me. Hang was the Avatar- he was supposed to bring balance back to the nations, and help bring down the Fire Nation and all of that. That’s a lot of pressure for what was basically a kid. And he was untrained. And had no experience or confidence. The only thing he had going for him was that he was the Avatar. Which ain’t nothin’. But he wouldn’t have gotten very far without his friends. They help him all along the way, and each one was important for his success- either training him in bending the other elements, or standing by him as he battled the Fire Nation. Aang was a hero, but he accomplished what he did only because he was not alone. Even when he was alone against the Fire Lord, he wasn’t alone. Nobody accomplishes anything great alone.
As I have been spending more time at home, as I think most of us have been, I have been trying to read more. One of the series I have wanted to read is The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. I have read the series a few times before, and I love it. I love the films. I love Middle Earth. Period. End of story. But as I have been reading the series, again this whole idea of not accomplishing anything great alone has been slapping me in the face. The Fellowship needed each other, Aragorn couldn’t return as the king without help, Rohan helping Gondor, and of course where would Frodo be without Sam. I don’t think he would have made it all the way. He needed Sam to make it and to destroy the ring. Nobody accomplishes anything great alone.
One last example. I just finished watching The Last Dance on Netflix. It was a sweet trip down memory lane. Michael Jordan was the NBA when I was a kid. The Bulls dominated the 90s, and Jordan was obviously a central reason why. The Bulls would not have won a championship with Jordan, but Jordan also wouldn’t have won a championship without the Bulls. And here it was, this whole idea smacking me upside the head one more time. Jordan was amazing, incredible, the greatest of all time.The GOAT. Don’t come around my house with any of that LeBron James stuff. It’s not happening here. But as incredible as Jordan was, he didn’t win a championship until Phil Jackson helped him realize how he could work with the rest of his team. Once he learned how to elevate his game by elevating those around him, he , and the Bulls were unstoppable. That’s not opinion, that’s fact. And that’s painful to say as a lifelong Jazz fan. Nobody ever accomplishes anything great alone.
So why am I so fixated on this right now? And why am I sharing it with you, dear reader? Those are both very good questions. I think for me personally, I have been thinking a lot about where I am in life, and where I want to be. Someone I follow on Twitter asked the question- if you could go back in time and meet your 10 year old self, what would he or she think of you? Something along those lines. My response was pretty short and sweet. I basically said Huge disappointment. I would never want my 10 year old self to meet me right now. This sounds super harsh and negative. Here’s the thing though, my 10 year old self had dreams of me being a WWE Champ, or maybe a football player or something crazy like that. He also wanted to be a writer. I have always loved stories, and at some point, I found out I was pretty ok at putting words together. My dream has always been to be a writer. Instead, I am a customer service manager who sometimes feels like kind of a big deal on my podcasts. It’s kind of sad really. Again, though, please understand, I don’t regret my job choices, because somewhere along the way I had new dreams- I wanted to be a husband and a father, and I have accomplished those things, and the work I have done has helped me to do that.
And, I haven’t given up my dreams to be a writer. I am going to write a book. I am going to get it published. I am not giving up on that stuff, even though I haven’t accomplished it yet. And who knows, maybe someday my podcasting will pay off, or my blog or whatever. All of these things are possible, but I won’t be able to accomplish any of these great things alone. I need to surround myself with my Katarra and Sokka. Even a Zuko who challenges me to bring out my best. I need to find my Legolas and Gimli, Merry and Pippin, and especially my Sam (probably have that already in my wife). I need to surround myself with a mentor like Phil Jackson, a sidekick like Pippen or other player like Paxson, Rodman, or Kerr. I need my Bulls. And I look around and I think some of them are there, but some aren’t.
And I guess I am sharing all of this with you, dear reader, to encourage you to go out and assemble your squad. Whatever your goals in life are, find the squad to support those goals. That should be your squad goals- to find the people you can support and who can support you. You will accomplish great things. You were put on this earth to accomplish great things, so find your team, find your family and do those things. Because nobody ever accomplishes anything great alone.
I always wanted to be a writer because I thought it was something I could do on my own, but I have come to realize that I actually need people to help me become a great writer. I have learned from other authors and I have a writing group to help me be at my best and eventually I’ll need an editor and beta readers. Writing is not solitary. Not if you want to be published. Someday someone will read what you have written and either like it or hate it. Hopefully more people like it. But I can’t accomplish my goals alone.