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

The Team That Always Wins

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Last night I was supposed to meet with some good friends. It’s something I look forward to every week, part of my regular Monday routine. But part of being a friend is knowing when you probably shouldn’t share germs freely with everyone you know, especially one who’s elderly and has been having health problems of her own. So, I stayed home for the good of the group.

These folks I was supposed to see are more than just friends. They’re people with whom I share a common goal, and we help one another in that pursuit. We share ideas, we pat one anther on the back, we hug and pray together, and at the end of the night we all go back to our own world for another week, just a little more energized and ready to take on the world.

There are reasons more and more companies are so focused on the team concept. Instead of looking for a single superstar who can leap tall buildings and stop a speeding locomotive, they want people who can work together to help others accomplish their own objectives. Because, when those objectives are aligned toward a single goal, the team is pretty much bulletproof. Okay, enough of the Superman references.

I work on a diverse team, each of us with our own unique skills. Individually, we’re pretty much experts in what we bring to the table. But none of us, on our own, could come close to doing the job as quickly or as well as we do together. We each have our niche, and when you put those special skills together, they complete a picture, much like the pieces of a puzzle.

Take a look at the people you work with. You may all share similar skills, but think about all the other people who make it possible for you to shine each day. It takes everything from managers to janitors, salespeople and supply clerks, executives and administrative assistants. Unless your company’s only job is to get people to show up every day, it takes a diverse set of skills to make it all happen.

And sure, you may be so good at your job that you could probably pitch in and do somebody else’s job as well. In fact, I’d be willing to bet there are few things you couldn’t learn pretty much on the spot if you had to. Children have been known to steer a car to safety when the driver is suddenly incapacitated. We do what we have to do.

But that doesn’t mean we’re really good at it. No matter how much we can stretch our abilities to fill in when the team comes up a little short, nothing beats a group of complementary talents all firing on eight cylinders. And in a scenario like that, there are no unimportant roles. Even the newest person on the team adds value in ways they may never even realize.

There are very few things in life that we can accomplish entirely on our own. And even if we could, it probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable. And there are few things more valuable than a friend whose only payback for helping you succeed is the satisfaction of watching you succeed. Somebody who doesn’t stand to gain a thing other than knowing you’ve achieved some of your own goals.

And, for as good as it feels having friends like that, it feels even better when you are that friend. How many times in your life were you able to help somebody else achieve their goals? It feels good, doesn’t it? And sure, there may be a day when the tables will turn, and they’ll be there to help you. But that’s not why you help. You do it for one simple reason – because you’re a friend.

In this life, we are blessed to have just a few people we can truly call a friend. There will be lots of others who are there when the sun is shining, but a true friend is the one who holds your umbrella when it isn’t. Cherish those people. They are the ones who will drive you to levels of greatness you could never have achieved on your own. And you are the one who can do the same for them.

At work and in life, there’s nothing as powerful as a team working together toward a common goal. And the more each person on that team dedicates their effort to helping the others, the faster you’ll all get to where you want to be.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When the Team Wins, We All Win

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Okay, so last week I was bragging about dodging the intestinal virus that’s been going around. Well, suffice to say I wasn’t as bulletproof as I’d thought. Normally if I even get these things it’s one bad night followed by a day of getting back to normal. But this was a particularly brutal strain and I was out of commission for four days. It’s good to be back.

It’s at times like this when you realize the importance of teamwork. My wife got this a couple of days before me, so I was able to spend some time taking care of her. And, since she began recovering a day or two ahead of me, I was able to lay on the couch whining in front of her. That’s how it works. We’re a team.

I read something a couple of days ago that I found rather funny. It said that for women, the pain of childbirth is so powerful and overwhelming, they almost begin to know how a man feels when he has a cold. I’m not normally much of a wimp, but in this case, I’d say that was pretty accurate. Stomach pain has always been my kryptonite.

But, with a little teamwork, not to mention a daughter who seeming is impervious to this stuff, we made it through. It’s an important premise we learned years ago – teamwork isn’t about the most valuable player holding up a trophy at the end of the game. It’s about lifting up the player who needs a little extra help so the whole team can do better.

If a baseball team has one home-run hitter and eight other players who strike out every time at bat, the best the team can hope for is three solo home-runs in a game. Improving that batter’s performance won’t help the team much at all.

But if that player can help a couple of others just get on base, the team’s average improves dramatically. Personal statistics look impressive on paper, but at the end of the game the team’s score is all that counts. We win (or lose) together.

Okay, enough with the sports analogies? You’d think I was an impressive athlete, and you’d be wrong. I was the kid who made sure nobody else on the team got splinters in their butt, because I was too busy picking them out of my own. But the one time I got a base hit, I advanced a runner into scoring position and we won the game. So, even the scrawny little right-fielder can get the job done sometimes.

And the only reason I got that base hit was because my coach and one of our strongest batters took some time with me for a little extra batting practice. They built my confidence to the point that I wasn’t afraid to take a swing. I got off the bench, grabbed a bat, and said, “I’m getting hit this time!” One player laughed and said, “If you get a hit, I’ll spit nickels!” What can I say? I needed the money.

The point is, when we help those around us, no matter what their position (or station in life), we raise the team average. And when the team wins, everybody gets free ice cream, whether they got on base or not. Those are the rules.

But here’s an important point to remember. Your “team” isn’t limited to the people in your family, your closest friends, or the ones you work with. It’s the janitor, working to clean up everybody else’s mess. It’s the guy in traffic who really can’t afford to be late one more time. It’s the child selling cookie dough for school. It’s the elderly person, forgotten and left to wither in a nursing home.

You see, it’s easy to get behind those in our immediate circle. But that’s only one small part of the team. A city in which people are either wealthy or homeless isn’t going to attract many investors and property values will plummet. But as a greater percentage of its citizens become independent and able to offer their own contributions, the city begins to flourish.

By helping those around us, we help ourselves. And more often than we’d believe, the help people need is little more than a friendly smile and somebody to make them feel important. People need to feel needed. Because when they do, they have a sense of purpose. And it’s that sense of purpose that drives us to do great things.

Sometimes, it’s not as much about hitting the home run as advancing another runner into scoring position. We do that by giving a little more of ourselves and helping others become the best they can be. We’re all in this together. And just think how much better that ice cream will taste after a win.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved