The Road to Success: How Collaboration Leads You to the Top

In Articles, M3Linked by Brian Town

If you speak to anyone who has reached the pinnacle of their profession, they will tell you it was no easy journey. The road to success is often long and is rarely a straight path forward. For many people, there has to be major growth in order to overcome those challenges.

That was certainly the case for me, starting my journey in the small town of Gastonia, North Carolina, and working hard to maximize my talents, ultimately reaching the heights of basketball in both college and in the NBA. Championships aren’t given away. They are earned.

From Gastonia to the Showtime Lakers to my current career in business, I’ve learned plenty of lessons about how to achieve success. In my experience with M3Linked, I’ve seen the results that come from members learning those same lessons. Maybe the biggest breakthrough members have is a simple one — that you don’t have to carry the pressure of succeeding all by yourself but can instead rely on collaboration with others to reach your goals.

You Need Coaches

I’ve been lucky to have been mentored by some of the best coaches in the history of basketball. At University of North Carolina, Dean Smith was my biggest influence. At a time when coaches wanted to keep their players as long as possible, he made it clear that an early entry to the NBA as the top draft pick was an opportunity to provide for my family. It was too good to pass up. He even helped negotiate my first contract, including a requirement that I eventually graduate.

Considering the growth I had under his leadership – not to mention under Lakers coach Pat Riley and owner Dr. Jerry Buss — it’s clear I had an incredible blueprint. But my success still required a commitment to pay attention to the lessons those mentors were teaching.

In business, it’s so important to truly value the mentorship that experienced leaders can give you. There is always something new to learn, which is why entering an environment like M3Linked is exactly the kind of step that successful entrepreneurs and leaders should be taking. I’ve said that I view M3Linked members as coaches, because they can identify your strengths and weaknesses. They do so objectively, but they still care about your development. Everyone needs those figures in their life.

You Need Teammates

In my mind, the biggest attraction of M3Linked is meaningful collaboration between members. I know the value of creating a locker room full of teammates who build each other up. Your skills complement the skills that others bring to the table, ultimately lifting the level of success for everyone involved.

That’s what each M3Forum™ feels like. Members come from all walks of life and bring different perspectives and skills because of those experiences. But once you’re in a room together, that expertise is maximized through thoughtful and purposeful collaboration. The key is that every member comes with the intention of not only receiving help but offering it as well. Bringing that willingness to contribute your own expertise for the benefit of others will solidify the purpose that each member feels when they enter that space. When that happens, each person — and their businesses, too — will be much better positioned to succeed.

Most Importantly, You Need to Be Open to that Support

It can be difficult for experts and high-level professionals to take advice. Vulnerability is something that is too often thought of as a weakness. I believe the opposite is true, because I’ve had to rethink that misconception and I’ve experienced the benefit of letting your guard down.

I was the Most Outstanding Player on the 1982 UNC championship team and went on to be the first overall pick in that year’s NBA Draft. But those accomplishments aren’t what set me up for success in Los Angeles. It was the mentorship from Coach Riley and Dr. Buss, and the mutual collaboration between myself and players like Magic Johnson. They all had something to teach me, and thankfully I recognized the value of having people such wise, talented people in my life. It’s because of those relationships — what they gave me and what I gave them in return — that we all found success on the court.

Even today, I lean on those lessons and the relationships I continue to build in business to position myself to succeed. Business leaders are so used to building something by themselves, only seeing the value in owning the successes and failures. But M3Linked members understand that collaborating with other leaders can ensure you stay on the right path. It can provide the necessary guardrails or even unlock ideas that put your business over the top.

Be open to guidance. Be open to teamwork. Join the next M3Forum in your community by choosing a location from the dropdown option at the top of the page. Allow these relationships and connections to energize you to reach the success you’ve always envisioned.