When you were a kid, did you have many others around to play together?
Growing up in Kentucky, I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow my parents managed to have me in between groups of kids being birthed by others around our small community. You know, there was a group just slightly older and then a group just slightly younger, but very few my own age. This fact led to me spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep myself occupied with games I could play alone. We had a well that was surrounded by concrete blocks and it was just about 60 feet away from where I dug out my new pitching rubber. Yes, I was going to play pitch against the well. Before long, I was playing entire imaginary baseball games. Just me, the ball, a glove and the well.
Every now and then, the kids in town would get together and play a real game of baseball at the local ballfield. We typically had enough in our small town for about 5 or 6 on each team, never the full 18 players needed to play a by-the-rules real game. I was a pretty good pitcher and fielder because of all the time I spent pitching to the well and fielding the ball on it’s return. I played hundreds of imaginary games in relation to each real game we had with the other kids. Which do you think was more fun? Are you kidding me? The real game with other kids, of course! I would play by myself by necessity, but man, there was nothing like getting up a real game with others. No matter how much I tried on my own, I could not accomplish by myself what I could accomplish by playing the game with others’ help.
Life is really like that. There’s only so much you can do by yourself. There’s nothing wrong with building your skills with individual effort and practice. I harp on that a lot! At the same time, no individual is a stand-alone entity, no person can be totally self-sufficient without the help of others. All of us, in one way or another, need the help of others, especially if we are going to do great things. Actually, it’s scary how much we need the help of others in the relatively small things.
Some of your relationships may be very close and intimate while others may be totally light and casual. Some are tight and some are distant. Sometimes we are comfortable with a certain level of relationship, and we have a great many people who we connect with on that level, while there are very few on other levels in our lives. Fact is, we usually have a pattern in our relationships, and we notice it, once we stop to take note. Sometimes we cut people off if they start to get too close, other times we drift away if someone doesn’t come close enough. It’s all very interesting.
Recognizing the roles others are playing in your life is an important key to success. It can be a really big contributor to people who might otherwise not accomplish all they would like to professionally. When you understand the importance of people in your life, it gives you added support when you need it. Yes, we all need support from time to time. That does not make you weak, only the strong feel confident about asking for help. Those who learn to build friendships while they are pursuing their dreams are those who will have the help they need when they require it. Peak performers are sensitive in their dealings with other people, and they may not seem to have close relationships, but they are typically well respected and liked. Also, it’s my personal belief it’s extremely important it develops in that order.
If you gain people’s respect, they will learn to like and/or love you. If you want them to like and/or love you first, they may never respect you.
Peak performers have a way of inspiring other people to want to play a baseball game with them or help them accomplish great things. They have a high degree of understanding and interpreting human behavior, first in themselves and in the others they deal with. They can work smoothly with those around them, even those who may be very different from them, who might greatly frustrate or grate on others, but not as much on the Peak Performer.
“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee, and is worth more than any commodity under the Sun”- John D. Rockefeller
Too many people fail in this area because they do not grasp this concept. They never understand the principle of combined effort, and the total result suffered because of it. Many grand visions and dreams of helping the masses have failed miserably because of lack of understanding in the power of relationships. They focus too much on organizational charts and structures, rather than the people in them. They think their lack of success is because the great secrets of business have been kept from them or that lady luck has failed to find them again and again.
The failure is in the lack of understanding they could have avoided most of their “bad luck” if they had only created a network of people who cared about them, were involved in their lives and could have supported their undertakings.
Sometimes, you just need some people to play ball with.