There’s been a lot of hoopla around about this comment that President Obama made recently that, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” Now, as you all know, I don’t like to mix my politics with my business. Which is why I’m not going to do that here. I’m going to take that statement on its own and address it.
“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own”
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”
I’m successful. Most of my friends are successful. And guess what? We didn’t get there on our own. Not a single one of us. I don’t think any truly honest and authentic business owner will say, “I did this all by myself without a single bit of help from anyone.”
I’ve had lots of help. And if you’re being honest, you have, too.
Have you never read a book? Have you never asked a question? Come on, people. None of us got where we are on our own.
We’ve all had moments where somebody took a chance or gave us a break, where somebody more successful than us took the time to answer a question or mentor us along. We’ve paid consultants and coaches. We’ve had graphic designers and web developers and copywriters and many of us have had investors.
Plus, you may have had customers who forgave mistakes, who understood delays, who’ve stayed with you for years. You’ve had family and friends who encouraged you.
So who among the successful has truly made it on our own? Not a single one of us.
If you want to get there on your own, you need help.
Any business owner who wants to be successful should be prepared to get there…with help. It’s not a slam, it’s not a slap in the face. It’s not a negative comment about anything other than the fact that to grow a successful business takes a village.
So back to Obama’s comment…
It’s election year. Every comment is dissected and twisted by every side. I don’t care what your politics are. But I do care about the truth. And the truth is, no business is an island. None of us who is successful has done it on our own. We’ve had teachers who taught us great things. We’ve had more experienced and successful mentors who guided us. We’ve had people in our lives who encouraged us. So rail about whatever you want, but stop complaining about this comment. Because it’s true.