A blog overview of Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy’s “Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork”
People put a lot of emphasis on property and ownership when it comes to success. We celebrate one person who came up with the idea first, who crossed the finish line first, who made something happen first as if success has an ID with only one name and one face in it; when in reality, success is never a solo pursuit.
The most successful people we know did not do it all alone. Elon Musk, for example, had 6,000 employees working with him to make Tesla happen. Apple had 22,000 when iPhone launched. Google had 50,000 to make it the number 1 search engine in the world.
Even upon the birth of the world’s biggest successes, the greats had families, friends, co-founders, coaches, and investors sharing their resources, knowledge, and connections to help achieve their goals. Their success and every success we know is a product of brilliant minds working together to achieve a unified vision.
Who Not How
This is the core message of Dan Sullivan’s Who Not How. Success is all about surrounding ourselves with the right people and creating mutually beneficial relationships for growth and expansion.
There are so many things to learn in this universe, but as humans, we only have a limited amount of time to do them. Mastering one profession alone takes decades to master and there are thousands of skills and career paths out there. This is why we specialize in certain areas and have to choose majors in college. It’s also why there are different positions in sports and different seats and teams in an organization. We are all connected and interdependent, and our ability to survive and thrive depends on the support and contributions of others whether it’s for emotional support, practical assistance, or simply companionship.
From the people who raise and educate us to the colleagues and mentors who help us along the way, the relationships we have with others have the power to transcend our efficacy, capability, and potential as human beings. We must take advantage of this gift and surround ourselves with the right people —ones who are not just skilled and reliable but also share the same values and vision for the future.
When we have the right WHO, we not only have a strong support system that can bring us closer to our goals; but we also gain a powerful driving force to help us endure the painful journey of reaching new heights of success.
Raise Your Standard
With Who Not How in mind, it’s important we acknowledge the power people hold over our lives and be intentional about the relationships we cultivate. They help set the baseline for what we think is right, what we think is okay, and what we think is possible. They shape our perception of things and ultimately affect the kind of decisions we make especially in the most pivotal moments of our lives.
If we continue to surround ourselves with chronic complainers, naysayers, quitters, and other sorts of wrong peers, we adapt their thinking, behavior, and values. Their lifestyle and mental work become our norm, setting us up to be mediocre. As they say: what we allow, we become.
This is a major takeaway on Who Not How, to constantly look at our peers and evaluate which direction they are bringing us. Are they good people? Are their goals and values aligned with ours? Do they inspire us to reach greater heights in life? More importantly, are they the kind of person we aspire to be? If not, it’s time we raise our standards and find a better company who can bring out the best in us.
Greatness is contagious. We should use this law to our advantage and build an environment/culture where we are pushed beyond our limits to unlock the greatness within us because it’s what our lives and dreams deserve. Each of us deserves to have WHOs who light us on fire. WHOs who keep our ideas and dreams alive. WHOs challenge us to think outside the box and raise our own levels of standards. WHOs who have the desire to do great things and lift us up so we can achieve the same.
Be A Hero!
Of course, Who Not How is a two-way street. It’s not just us discerning which people we want to associate with and gaining from the gifts they bring to the table. It’s also about us being the right WHO for them, the kind of WHO whom they can lean into when needed, one that we ourselves wish to have in our personal journey.
We’re not obliged to be in a permanent relationship with people, but engaging in a relationship whether it’s business or personal is still a commitment. Thus, when we decide to keep the connection, the responsibility is ours to nurture it and make sure it remains the right one for us and the other party. What’s in it for them to be affiliated with you?
Put more meaning into the relationship by creating an impact that goes beyond the mere exchange of knowledge and expertise so that the people we consider as right WHOs for us consider us as the right WHO for them as well. As Dan notes in the book, be transformational and contribute to others’ goals. We are, after all, chasing the same thing. We want to succeed, grow, and evolve and there’s no scarcity of those in this world so why not lend a hand and succeed together?
Ultimately, our legacy is not just the things we accomplish or achieve in our lifetime, but also what kind of impact we have made in the lives of the people around us. Let’s be the kind of person others would feel grateful for.
We often think about how we can become successful, but the more critical question is, WHO? Who is it that we wish to become and who do we need to make it happen?
The key is to be proactive in seeking out and building the right relationships that are aligned with our goals. Having people around us who support us in our journey makes all the difference between a life of enduring success and one of struggle and so we must be mindful of who is in our lives, who can and who do support us in the ways required for enduring success.