No One Succeeds Alone

“Remember that no one succeeds alone. Never walk alone in your future paths.”— Sonia Sotomayor

One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves is to make a conscious effort to create, sustain, and grow our personal support systems.

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with great support systems. I have also, in many cases, worked very hard to create them. 

For example, I grew up on a farm where the nearest town had fewer than 1,000 people. I had never traveled more than 2 hours from home because we always had to be home for the evening farm chores.  My high school graduating class had 89 people. Leaving home to be dropped off at a college of over 20,000 people where I knew no one was a massive leap.

However, I joined the cross-country team. Our team started training two weeks before classes began. By the end of the two weeks, I had a support system of 15 fellow runners and we had the shared experience of running over 300 miles together.  Through this joint effort, we knew each other very well. None of us were actually in college classes together. Yet throughout my college years we met twice a day to run.

I now realize this was my first support system outside of my family. As a mutual support system we compared notes, shared sorrows, celebrated accomplishments, formed study groups, and helped each other stay focused on our goals for success.  I still rely on that support system of people from decades ago to give me energy today.

I now make it a habit to find support in my most challenging endeavors.  I am now more conscious of what I am looking for.  I sometimes seek experts and mentors in areas where I need more knowledge.  I work hard to ensure that the people I seek are a good fit. I seek people who are on a similar journey.  I don’t create an “echo chamber” as I value the friction and energy of differing points of view.

My main criteria for a successful support group is that it helps me feel valued, valuable, and energized.

I find the closing month of a year is a good time for reflection.  I encourage you to consider your support systems.

What support systems do you currently have? What benefits do they provide?
What more do you need to help lift you up to the next level?

I encourage you to take five minutes to jot down some ideas. People who do this find ways to make this idea an even more uplifting part of their life. 

And of course, please take a moment to thank the people in your support system.  They appreciate knowing that they help.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

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