I find it fascinating that many believe that for their success to be truly theirs they must go it alone. When I ask them to point out a single person who is truly self-made, who achieved what they have with absolutely no help/support/guidance from anyone, they cannot. And yet the belief persists.

To be clear, I am not advocating that we never attempt anything on our own. As someone whose focus is transformative learning, I know all too well that learning happens at the edge of your comfort zone. The issue comes when we are so far out of our comfort zone that we aren’t able to learn or get frustrated and give up.

Let me give you an example. A friend of mine is learning to play the guitar. Which path do you think is more likely to see her achieving this goal? She could go online and purchase a guitar (without looking at reviews or the description of the guitar) and, when it arrives, just start trying to play. Or, she could go to a music shop, speak with someone knowledgeable about guitars who could help her to select an appropriate guitar for her needs. While there, she may choose also to purchase some instructional sheet music or she may inquire about getting lessons.

Might she learn to play using option one? Sure. But, my guess is that it is going to be a long, painful journey to any level of proficiency. At the end of the day, option two will get her further faster. And the reality is, she still has to do the work. She needs to be the one to practice and follow instructions to accomplish her goal.

I realize that this is a simplistic example. I’ve done this purposefully. But you can apply this to nearly every goal you set for yourself. Want to start a business? Who do you know that has done this…even if there only a few years ahead of you…who might be willing to share their experiences? Who do you know who has the skills you need to get off the ground (e.g. create a website; launch social media; help with branding)? Want to shift careers? Who do you know whose made a career pivot and would share their lessons learned? Who do you know in the industry you are looking to break into? What associations or conferences might you attend to learn more?

When, a few months from now, my friend is confidently playing her first piece of music on the guitar, will anyone listening to her think “Ah, but she didn’t figure it out by herself.”? Of course not! They’ll be marveling in her proficiency at having accomplished something new.

How much further could you be toward achieving your goals if you let go of the notion that you had to go it alone?