“For me, the team always comes first, and without the help of my colleagues, I am nothing.”
~ Ruben Neves

Do you like the “Memories” feature on Facebook? I love checking in each morning to see pictures of my girls when they were little, the cats doing something weird, or some other milestone of our lives. It encourages me to keep taking pictures and posting.

Not long ago, I found a photo from a few years past taken on Main Street here in Ann Arbor. It’s my girls and I dressed in our Karate uniforms on the occasion of me earning my Fifth Degree Black Belt. Needless to say there was a big smile on my face.

The funny thing about martial arts, most people assume that it is a solitary endeavor. I mean, it’s not a team sport like football or soccer. It’s just one person performing or at most two when it comes to sparring. The truth is, to be successful at Karate, you need a team to call on. I’ve had numerous coaches and teachers over the past 25 years. I’ve had sparring partners to challenge me to improve my skills, and training partners that walked with me on the path and kept me focused. My family stood behind me when the training was taking a lot of my time (usually just before testing for a major belt). I’ve even had professionals in my corner for times when things didn’t go as planned and I suffered minor injuries.

A lot of people think that success in our careers and our lives means a lot of solitary work. Maybe. But as a small business owner for the last 30 years, I can say I wouldn’t have seen nearly this level of success without a team behind me. Coaches, teachers, accountability partners, referral sources. Family support, of course, is in that mix, not to mention the occasional professional for when my needs exceed my skills or my available effort.

All of that support comes about as a result of relationship development. It’s about networking to develop the resources you need to be successful and significant in your life. The next time you are faced with a challenge take a moment to consider who in your network can help you — even if it’s only by pointing you in the direction you need to go.

Create the connections to support you so in a few years time you can look back through your “Memories” to see how far you’ve come.

Who are you looking for right now to be on your team?