Myth of the Self-Made Man

Most Millennials have strong desire and ambition to create the life we want rather than following traditional pathways of success. In fact, 78% of millennials are motivated by the concept of “charting their own course.” 66% would like to start their own business.

If past generations dreamed of the prestige and perks that come with a corner office in the executive suite, the dream of my generation, Millennials, appears somewhat different. And I believe it’s one of our greatest traits.

However, I believe there’s a serious danger within that entrepreneurial spirit that has the potential to prevent us from achieving our dreams if we’re not careful.

Let me explain…

There’s no such thing as a self-made person.

When I first launched my freelance career in 2012, I wanted to prove I could make it on my own. I wanted to create something meaningful on my own merits. I’ll never forget the advice my dad gave me one day shortly after I started.

“Don’t try to make it on your own,“ he said. “Everyone gains success with the help of others.”

That became one of the most beneficial things I learned during my time as a freelancer. And it’s a principle I believe Millennials must remember if we’re truly going to create the life we want.

Build a net you can cast to achieve your dreams.

So how do we avoid the trap of trying to make it on our own? We should be intentional about creating a network or community of people that will help us achieve our goals.

Look for ways to intentionally add value to others every day. It can be something as simple as calling a friend you haven’t talked to in months. Reach out to a neighbor or relative you haven’t seen in a while and invite them over for dinner. If you’re still working in a traditional office environment, send a note of encouragement to a coworker who might need it.

Don’t be timid or feel bad about using the connections and networking relationships you’ve been allowed to make. Don’t ignore those connections with the people who know you and care for you. Those relationships may be as important as any skill you bring to the table when it comes to achieving your dreams.

Who is one person you can connect with today? And how can you add value to their life?