The Brightest Bulb Needs Electricity to Shine

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Have you ever watched a flock of geese migrating south for the winter and wondered why they always fly in a “V” formation? As it turns out, it has little to do with organization and making sure everybody has a good view. It’s all about splitting the wind resistance between them so the whole group covers more miles with less energy. It’s about teamwork.

Stock car drivers do the same thing. When you see a line of several cars running bumper-to-bumper, they’re not trying to spin one another out. They save that for the last lap. Besides, who wants a car spinning inches in front of you when you’re motoring along at a leisurely 180 mph? Again, it’s about teamwork. The same act that would land you in jail on the street gets them to the finish line faster.

Rarely do you see anybody achieve success completely on their own. The best quarterback in the world will never complete a pass without some great blockers. And the strongest linebacker would have to chase every ball carrier to the goal line if not for a defensive line that can take break up the play at the line of scrimmage. No matter how good you are, it still takes a team to win.

It’s one thing to show up and do your best. That’s something we should all do every day. But it’s not much of a race if only one person crosses the finish line and the rest can’t get out of second gear. You may win the race, but the bragging rights just aren’t quite the same. And odds are, the grandstands will be empty long before the race is over. So much for those post-race autographs.

We’ve all been in situations like that where, for one person on the team, it’s not as much about getting the job done as outshining everybody else on the team. Sometimes it’s passive, where they simply run off on their own and leave everybody else to figure it out. And other times it’s a little more nefarious. Believe it or not, there are people out there who will trip the fastest runner to win.

Either way, the result is the same. The job gets done, but not as quickly or as well as it could have. And guess what happens the next time the same job needs to be done? That star player is right back where they started. They can’t achieve the next higher goal because they’re stuck doing the job they didn’t help others learn to do just as well.

Sometimes, we have to be willing to step down in order to step up. When we take time to raise up those around us, it raises the collective average and we all attain a greater level of success as a result. Sure, it’s great to be able to throw that epic pass that the fans will be talking about for weeks. But what good is it if the other team goes home with the win?

Go to the practice field of any winning team and you’ll see the star players out there teaching the rookies a few tricks. Sure, it takes a little away from their own training. But they know that, in the end, it’s not about being the fastest or the best – it’s about winning the game. And the best players know it’s hard to reach the goal line when you’re tripping over the fallen bodies of your own team.

We all want to be our very best. We want people to respect our talent and, whether we’ll admit it or not, we all want recognition for a job well-done. But it’s easier to climb a mountain with a little help. And once you find a way to the next level, it’s your job to show the others how you got there. You may reach the top on your own. But it’ll take a lot longer and you’ll be all alone when you do.

If you want to elevate yourself, start by elevating those around you. Find the person who needs your help the most. It may distract you from your immediate goal, but in the long run the whole group will run faster and smoother as a result.

It takes a lot of energy for a locomotive to pick up speed, but once it gets up to speed, it’s able to dial back the energy and rely on the momentum of the entire train to keep moving. And the trip isn’t a success unless the entire train reaches its destination. Even that rusty old boxcar with the clackety wheels at the end.

We shine as individuals, but we win as a team. Raise up those around you, and you raise yourself in the process. You may rise up by climbing on somebody else’s back, but you’ll both reach greater heights if you help them stand tall in the process.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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