You can’t do it alone. So don’t pretend you can.
When starting up, entrepreneurs can sometimes think they are superhuman and try to handle every detail, no matter how large or small, by themselves. The business is their responsibility and liability — alone.
Business owners who don’t break out of this mindset often struggle and fail. To accomplish greatness, even the best among us need support and mentoring along the way.
The quote above is a line from a new book by author and TED speaker Simon Sinek called Together is Better. Highlighting his expertise on leadership and collaboration, the book is about a boy who takes a stand for what he believes in, and more broadly about overcoming struggles and challenges by working with and learning from others.
Sinek recently chatted exclusively with Entrepreneur about leadership, achieving your goals and team culture. Check out the full conversation in our Facebook Live event here:
Here are some highlights from the conversation.
About the book: The story is a metaphor. Too many of us are dissatisfied with where we work. We don’t feel like our bosses or leaders care about us, or our growth or our careers. Sometimes we have dreams we don’t pursue. … I came up with these three little kids. They’re archetypes. At various points in our lives, we’ve been each of them. They dream of leaving the playground — for a better playground. The question is: How do you do that? … They learn the hard way that they won’t get there unless they help each other. Unless the do it together. Together really is better.
On creating culture within your company: It’s about consistency. Leadership is a little bit like exercise. You can’t go to the gym for nine hours and get into shape. It doesn’t work. The intensity doesn’t work. It’s about consistency. If you work out every single day for 20 minutes, you’ll absolutely get into shape.
Too many organizations try to rely on intense experiences [company off-site meetings, bringing in a speaker, etc.] to form the tribe, to form the trust. Those things are important, but you really need consistency.
On overcoming self-doubt: The biggest mistake I made in my life, as a budding entrepreneur when I was younger, is that you don’t have to know all the answers. And if you don’t, you don’t have to pretend that you do. The entrepreneurs who make it are the ones who are very open about the fact that they only know what they know and they don’t know what they don’t know. They’re very willing to ask lots of questions and get used to looking stupid. Amazingly, we’re surrounded by people who want to help us, but they don’t help us because they don’t think we need it because we never ask.
On being influenced by mentors: There are two types of mentor relationships I’ve been lucky to have. There are people that I absolutely admire whom I’ve gotten to know personally. I never asked if they’d be my “mentor” but I would call on a regular basis and just ask them for advice. I was astonished that they’d take my calls and take time out of their day to help me solve problems and help me think things through.
The best mentor relationships aren’t mentor-mentee, they’re mentor-mentor. It’s when both people, regardless of your experience, show up to be students and to be teachers.
For more from Sinek’s discussion, check out the video above.
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