I lead a comfortable life. I am able to be charitable, to travel freely, and to not struggle with the necessities of life. I believe that I have been successful in work and life. Recently, I tried to look back on the things that I have accomplished and came to the realization that there wasn’t a single one that I could identify as something I did alone. That the accomplishment was mine and mine alone. What I actually came to realize was that those things were always accomplished through the combined efforts of the people I have surrounded myself with.
Throughout my life I have always had people I could lean on for support. When I was young, it was coaches, teachers, and my dad. As I aged and entered the workforce, my support network were co-workers more experienced than me, and mentors so willing to lend advice. Multiple co-teachers were there to assist in the projects I was developing, to give advice and at time to be my promotors. In my years as a teacher, I had invaluable teaching assistants to ease the burden of my often overloaded classroom. When I entered the private sector, I had experienced co-workers who shared their knowledge and skill with me while assisting in the plans I was developing for my clients. At work I was surrounded by an incredible support staff who took my ideas and strategies and did the paperwork to make them working plans. And in my personal life, I had my partner in marriage to do the social and family planning that kept me on track and motivated. As she would tell you, without her it is doubtful that I would have ever showed up anywhere on time or possibly not at all.
My point is that what we accomplish in life is always a collaborative effort. We are never alone if we know where to look. That said, it is so important for us to acknowledge those people in life who are part of our team. I ask people to avoid using the word “just” when they describe what they do. Who was the most important person in a successful, possibly life saving, surgery? Was it the surgeon, or was it the nurse who prepped the patient? Or, was it the person who collected the garbage outside of the surgeon’s home so that he could concentrate on the surgery and not whether the trash was picked up? I would contend that each person involved at any level in the process, shares in the success of the outcome.
I am the cumulative result of all of the people in my life who shared in the process that has led to my successes. Hopefully at least a few of them are reading this and know that they are appreciated and loved for the impact they have had on my life and the things we have done, together. I didn’t do anything, alone.