Why You Need to Learn You Can’t Do Everything Yourself + the Utter Importance of Masterminding

I know what kind of person you are. You’re a true “do-it-yourselfer,” aren’t you? You like to be in control, and the way you see it — the best way to get anything done is to just do it yourself.

Why spend time bouncing your ideas off of others when you know your idea is perfect to begin with? It’s not like they have the same vision as you, so why bother throwing it around to people who have no clue what they’re talking about?

Believe me, I once thought like this too. I like to be in control of things, and do everything myself. It’s something that comes from being a web designer, and has carried through into other aspects of my life.

Photo by Mish Sukharev

The truth is, you can’t do everything yourself. Breaking this mindset is not always easy, but it’s something you’ll need to learn.

…and fast.

Now, there’s a big difference between “anti-social” people and “do-it-yourself” kind of people. Just because you like doing things on your own does not make you anti-social. Rather, can lead to a little stubbornness.

There’s nothing wrong with doing things for yourself and taking control of situations in your life. Hell, I’d say it’s one of the best characteristics of any successful person.

However, there’s got to be a line somewhere. When crossed, I don’t think you’ll like where you end up. It can all be avoided simply through the help of others.

Life is About the Connections You Make

Family, friends, coworkers, baristas — whoever it is are all there for you (the barista at my local Starbucks sneaks me some extras occasionally. Don’t know where I’d be without her ;-)). Don’t be afraid to go for them for something. That’s generally why they’re in your life to begin with.

So when you do come up with a great idea, or need help at work, or ever feel overwhelemed — ask for some help. Don’t be shy or nervous to do so either. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you don’t look weak for needing to do so.

I think the biggest reason I never wanted the help from others is because I was a little afraid to. I didn’t know what to expect, or if anyone would want to help me.

It’s not that I didn’t have any friends. Or that I was a total “do-it-yourselfer.” It was because I didn’t know how to ask.

These are the things I wish I knew before, on how to ask people for help:

  1. Ask the right people: Simply put, if you need help with an Advanced Calculus assigment — don’t ask a gym teacher (unless they were once a rocket scientist or something).
  2. Don’t be afraid of rejection: No one likes getting shot down. But think about it, what’s the worst thing that can happen when you ask someone for help? They say “no?” Big deal.
  3. Know what you want: Unless you’re brainstorming, don’t talk to people about something unless you know exactly what you’re talking about. This goes back to “owning the situation,” and people will be more inclined to help a confident, knowledgable person.
  4. Help others: Like you, others want help too! By helping other people, you are building reputation and trust, so when the time comes for when you need something — people will be more inclined to help.

But listen: it’s not that you should go to people only when you need something. That’s selfish.

You should go to people because you want to. You want to talk to them, and you just want to stimulate a great conversation and be around people you like.

Once you understand that life isn’t one giant “work-a-thon,” you’ll understand what life is really about. Maybe you’ll make a few friends along the way, too.

The Utter Importance of Masterminding

There is synergy of energy, commitment, and excitement that participants bring to a Mastermind Group. The beauty of Mastermind Groups is that participants raise the bar by challenging each other to create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Mastermind participants act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues. — Karyn Greenstreet

Ever hear of one of these?

Masterminding is a great way to collaborate with others and get feedback on whatever is on your mind. It can really put some of your thoughts into perspective, and see what others think. It’s also a great way to break that “I need to do everything” mindset.

I’m in a Mastermind group myself, and have gotten a ton of value out of it. I’ve only been in two sessions (our group is new), but have really learned a lot and am always excited to go to the next session.

That, and my Masterminding homies, Dan Gheesling, Ruth Zive and Adrienne Smith are fun and smart people to talk to.

I encourage you to go out and talk to a few people who are into similar things (but not exact) and ask them about starting a Mastermind group.

Explain the benefits, such as always having people to bounce ideas off of, people who will support you, and to really just have a good time with a bunch of great people.

If you want to start your own Mastermind group, check out some of the links below for some great tips:


Still Thinking of “Doing it Yourself?”

There’s no shame to doing things for yourself, but sometimes you just need to ease up and let others help out! You’ll not only be less stressed, but will start enjoying the prescense of others and building relationships. If you have any bad or good “do-it-yourself” experiences, share in the comments. Also, be sure to share your views on a Masterminding group.

About the author: Alex Mangini is an 18-year-old web designer, blogger and founder of Life Notion. He has been helping people online since the age of 14, and hopes to inspire even more through the blog. Follow him on Twitter →

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Davis December 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

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Oh my God, I have had such a big problem with this in the past.

Like you, I learned to do most of what I know on my own. I found my own way through Photoshop and I built my own websites, both gluing me to the computer for 18 hour days at a time. So, once it was time to start creating projects, I didn’t need anyone but myself.

I remember about 3 years into my independence, my best friend and I started a site together. We became partners in an LLC and everything. Let’s just say it only lasted a month because of me. I wouldn’t say that I was that difficult to work with. I just had a pace that I usually did things at that I expected of others. Nope… doesn’t work that way.

Since then, I’ve learned that I’m not necessarily the partnership kind of guy. However, I have slowed down my pace a bit and I have learned to outsource things that I used to be crazy about doing myself.

Likewise, I’ve made it a point to mastermind. I have a circle of 4 people total and we mastermind about everything. Unfortunately, we are all spread around the country at this point, but it doesn’t stop us. Numerous times we’ve bounced ideas off of each other and gotten priceless feedback.

In fact, I rarely move forward without consulting my mastermind group now. The synergy is amazing and can’t be creative by one individual. You are DEAD on with this post.

Napoleon Hill taught it to me about 4 years ago and I still believe the idea every time I am exposed to it.

Sean
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Thomas Frank December 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

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Jeff Bajayo and I started a mastermind group on Facebook, but I can’t add you now ;)
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Mushfique December 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

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I was exactly at the same position as you were Alex. Actually I still am. The reason for me to fall in that position was because when ever I asked for help, very few people responded. According to your point 1, I guess I did not ask the right people and yes I did get rejected indirectly. Jealous they were, maybe?
The worst part is when you help someone, he forgets you when you need help from him. That hurts the most.
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VeehCirra December 20, 2011 at 11:52 am

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Alex you are very right. No man is an island. I love the mastermind idea. When people work together they can move mountains.

I believe in giving what you want in return. Helping others builds good karma.

However, like Mushfique pointed out, the fear of being rejected can hinder someone from asking for help. Guess it is important to always do that which we fear.
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Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog December 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

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You rock Alex! LOVE masterminding with you. This is a great message – and a really important consideration for success. We MUST learn how to leverage and integrate the skills and insights of those around us if we are going to realize true success. I look forward to the journey together…can’t wait to see where we’re all at in a year’s time!
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Deeone December 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

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Man Alex, you really bought the fire with this one!

I think it’s incredibly important to learn the art of asking for what you want. I call it a art because most people are like you and I were, and would rather not ask for what they want; even if they risk not actually getting what they want.

I have literally had to reprogram everything that was normal to me for that very fact. Anyone that is fearful of asking others for assistance should also be mindful that when they do start; be prepared for life as they knew it to change.

I’m serious! My life has totally done a 180… ok maybe 90, but I’m headed in the right direction now, all because I’ve begun asking for what I need and want. Granted, for the most part I usually get it; there have been a few times where I was delivered a “no” or “not right now.”

Like you said, “Who cares?”

The next time or the time after that… there just might be a “yes, sure” waiting for me.

My point is, I totally agree with this topic and definitely stand beside you on this one, bud. This was really good stuff.

The mastermind idea was a phenomenal idea, as well. I have a few awesome peeps in mind that I’ll definitely throw the idea too. Thanks for that one, my friend.

Thoroughly enjoyed the post, mate!
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Adrienne December 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

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Great message Alex and you are not alone. I have always been the type of person that did better working by myself. It’s not that I was perfect at what I did but I just knew the job needed to get done and I would put my head down and go for it until it was completed. Not everyone does that so I’ve learned.

But since entering the online world it’s been a rude awakening all the different things that I’ve had to learn. Some of them so way over my head. It was hard for me to reach out to others but I have since learned that we are all here for the same reasons so why not support one another.

I believe we have a really great group of people in our little mastermind. We all bring something different to the table so it’s great to be able to get suggestions, help and support from one another on the projects we are currently working on. I’m thoroughly enjoying our sessions and it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you as well. You are such a talented guy and you bring so much to the table.

Others should take your advice and if they aren’t already in a mastermind group, start their own. It’s also a great way to have accountability for the work you say needs to be accomplished. It’s also a great way to meet some new people and learn from them as well.

I have a feeling next year is going to be great for us all. So, see you again in a couple of weeks!

~Adrienne
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Naveen Kulkarni December 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm

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Thanks Alex for sharing useful information about Masterminding. I guess I am reading about mastermind groups for the first time.
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Colleen Kelly January 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm

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Hi Alex,

I follow you on Twitter. I actually saw tweets between you and Dan Gheesling that led me too you. I started blogging about 2 months ago. I just wish I was more computer savy. I want to learn all I can. But I don’t really personally know other bloggers as you do. I enjoy it so much. I want to make it the best blog possible!. But I too have that attitude and you are right. Asking for help and getting the point of view of others is only a smart way to go about blogging ..and just life. I loved this post Thank you . Good luck with your Mastermind group!. You have a good one from what I can see. I follow your group on twitter as well. All good choices ! Good Luck Alex! :)

Jonathan Gaurano January 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

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Hi Alex:

Due to the lack of time I have, I use twitter and a once a month phone call to a friend who runs a successful site. We do our best to figure out the best ways to make sure that all our efforts and goals are sounded in logic. Not only logic but also with a purpose. It’s been hard these past few months. But, like every freaking year – it’s a cleansing and it’s worth a shot.

People like you. Like “Smith.” Like other successful bloggers is that it always seem so easy. I wish it was. I wish commenting a lot on different blogs, guest posting, and promoting was enough… but it’s not. It’s discipline.

I’m ranting now. But, I’m glad you have a mastermind group and continue. I think it’s time I find mine…?
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Burl January 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

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I am so very guilty of this one! It seems an innate character flaw that I don’t like to ask for help although I really enjoy people. This was a great reminder! Thanks for sharing!
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Burl January 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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That not being afraid of rejection is the kicker! It keeps us from reaching out to people to make the connections that really could be wonderfully beneficial to both parties! I have found that helping others comes easily to me, but accepting help from others is tough! Great post! Keep up the awesome work!
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ayo February 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

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hello alex

how are you?

thanks for sharing this article because i once embraced this concept of doing everything myself because of my certain craving for complete perfection.

you’ve touched on an important point- the fear of asking for help.

at times i felt it might be a big burden to people asking for help, there was also the fear of asking, the thoughts of rejection, the feeling of weakness, pride…. but as you’ve rightly mentioned life is about connections because we actually thrive on them.

finally it’s important to reciprocate such gestures by playing ones part helping others.

take care and enjoy the rest of the day.

Joseph Putnam February 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

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This post really hits home because I like to do everything myself and I don’t like asking for help. The problem is that, like you said, it’s impossible to get a lot done by trying to do everything myself. I need to figure out how to delegate more work and get more help in order to accomplish more.

Thanks for the great post.

Joseph

p.s. Your website is awesome. Keep up the great work!
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Ryan Sprout March 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

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I’ve really noticed surrounding yourself with positive people and not being afraid of change has really helped push myself further than I ever thought I could reach!

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