Your success depends on your support network. Do you surround yourself with people who help keep your vehicle filled up, tires ready to roll? If not, you need to think seriously about building your pit crew.
As I walked along the gorgeous Australian beach this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the people around me.
A woman with her adult daughter running into the surf for their morning swim.
Three old men walking shoulder to shoulder on the sand, belly laughing. I overhear one say, “…I can’t believe we’ve been doing this over 20 years…”
A couple in their 30’s walking briskly, hand-in-hand, his head tilted towards hers as she gestures with her right arm, telling him a story.
These people reminded me of something I have believed for a very long time about success in business. Everyone needs a pit crew.
A pit crew is a group of people who help a race car driver stay on the track going as fast as possible during a race. It may seem like drivers are lone wolves, but nothing could be further from the truth. Numerous elements affect drivers during a race, and many are simply easier seen from another perspective. Race car driving is a team sport. You can have the best driver and the best car but without that pit crew doing their job you aren’t going to win.
Winning in business is the same. It’s a team sport.
But not in the traditional way people talk about collaboration and teamwork in the workplace. That’s important. But in order for you, as an individual, to be as fulfilled and successful as you desire, you need a team of people that support you.
Having a pit crew is personal.
It’s about having people in your life that know you, love you, support you, and are there for you. When you need them. They are your “soft place to land.”
It’s important to be selective about your pit crew. To develop relationships in your life with people you respect who can support you on your professional and personal journey.
My pit crew is comprised of a half dozen people—most whom have known me for years and even decades—who I can call up and use as a sounding board, ask for advice, vent to, seek feedback or perspective, or share accomplishments and setbacks. These are people who understand me, how I’m wired, love me in spite of myself, and are conversant in the business world so they “get it” without me having to explain a whole lot.
I also have a couple people who provide me practical, day-in and day-out support so that my life runs as efficiently and effectively as possible.
As a single mom of a 12-year-old boy, having raised him on my own while also climbing the corporate ladder, I can speak to how important it is to make sure you have a pit crew providing both professional and practical life support.
My pit crew has been essential to the success I have experienced. I trust these people. I can speak the unspeakable to them. I can say all the things I’m really thinking about my job, my life, my boss, my boyfriend, the business strategy, whatever, and know that it will be held in confidence and I won’t be judged.
Sometimes I have a good handle on all the various pressures and stressors and demands in my life. But a lot of times I simply lose the plot and need someone else’s view. Someone who has enough distance and perspective to help me get my own perspective back.
You see, life is going to happen to you.
You will change jobs. You will change companies. You will change industries.
You may move cities. Or countries. Or continents.
You may marry. You may divorce. You may raise kids. Or dogs. Or plants.
You will have good bosses. You will have bad bosses. You will have good teams. You will have bad teams.
Your company will win some. And lose some.
Life will happen.
Going it alone through all of this is a bad strategy. Not ever letting your guard down to people you can trust is a recipe for disaster. Success in business a team sport, and so is success in life. In order to thrive you need to have an external group of people committed to your success both in life and business.
If you don’t have your own personal pit crew, go pick your team now. If you don’t know how, read my blog “How to Pick Your Pit Crew.”