(by Kevin Claiborne)
Establish Your All-Star Roster of Support
A Starting Five Lineup
Some people will say, “It’s all about who you know.” Some people will say, “It’s all about who knows you.” I say, “It’s all about who knows you and respects you enough to help you. Because at the end of the day, if you know me, I know you, and we know each other but you’re not willing to help me get to where I’m trying to go, I don’t really have much use for you. When you have a list of goals to achieve and you’re willing to work all day and all night for as long as it takes to reach them, you don’t have time for unnecessary connections, chitchat, or distractions because there’s only 86,400 seconds per day and the clock is ticking. Networking isn’t about swapping business cards or collecting a list of e-mail addresses. It’s about building a team of authentic connections, serving others, and communicating in order to make progress.
Create a starting-five, if you will, of an honest team of people who will hold you accountable, complement your personality and learning style, support and encourage your efforts, and help you stay focused on tracking and achieving your goals. No one person can be everything for you, except God. The following list is simply a recommendation for roles to assign to your friends, family, and/or mentors:
Point Guard – This person is a proven effective, efficient, and excellent leader who excels in all forms of communication (verbal, written, body language, etc.) As a leader, their role is to provide clear direction, tell you when you’re making a mistake, and tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it. If a leader doesn’t keep it real with you, what good are they?
Shooting Guard – They are a great listener, very trustworthy and consistent. When you need to vent, you can go to this person to communicate whatever you need and they are there to listen and provide positive and honest feedback.
Small Forward – A very versatile position, often interchangeable with the shooting guard, this person is the most dependable. They have to be able to play multiple roles and they also have to be reliable. You can count on them to fight for you literally and figuratively, whenever or wherever, for whatever.
Power Forward – This member of your team will specialize in evaluating your progress and making sure that you keep your eyes on your goal and that you aren’t wasting precious time with unproductive actions. It’s imperative that you attach a timeline to your goals, and this person will hold you accountable for reaching your goals on time.
Center – This is the tallest and usually the strongest on the court in basketball and the tallest man sees the furthest. Your center is someone you look up to who will give you guidance from what they have seen based on their life experiences. This person has seen it all, done it all, and knows how to rebound from adversity, standing tall and tough. A smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
Free Agents – These people don’t fall into one of the other categories specifically, but they can be used whenever you need, for whatever purpose. Their roles may change, but they remain a key part of your team when you use them.
Fans – Support system that helps you.
Groupies – Support system that distracts you.
Opposing team – Haters, Hecklers, Faultfinders.
Imagine how much more productive you would be if everyone that you knew was genuinely concerned with helping you move forward, and you were equally concerned with helping them as well. Don’t ever forget to show the people around you that you appreciate their help.
Your direction and destination in life is your responsibility but it also depends heavily on whom you surround yourself with. Ultimately, you become them.
© 2013 Kevin R. Claiborne II