When Risking It, Who’s On Your Team?

We were created to be in community and relationship, to encourage one another and live out life together.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says it well:

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25 MSG

The biblical worldview is one of team, community and mutual encouragement.

American culture, on the other hand, venerates individual accomplishment.  Individuality, freedom and personal expression have been hallmarks of the American experience since our nation’s founding.  No doubt, individual accomplishment and success deserve our admiration. But the reality is, much of what we perceive as laudable individual accomplishment has a significant team contribution behind it.  Teams or support groups may be unseen or in the background, yet their contribution to the observable success is often essential.

So, who’s on your team?

I like to think that the starting point of one’s team goes well beyond the obvious, i.e. those playing the game with you in a sporting contest or the group that you accomplish business or career tasks with day to day. For most of us, the central element of team starts at home, with those closest to us -- our spouse, significant other, parents or children.  For me, and many of you I suspect, the home team carries over into extended family – siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and beyond. These are the core or “built in” members of our team, the ones we can most rely on in times of challenge and difficulty.  Thankfully, these are the folks who will still be in our corner even if our risk-taking doesn’t quite pan out.  Their love isn’t conditional on our performance.

In addition to your family members, close friends and confidants can bring meaningful strength to our team.  These are people we trust, often as the result of years of doing life together.  Confidants hold us accountable and encourage us.  And they can be irreplaceable in lending us a listening ear or rendering an honest opinion when we’re evaluating a risk.  In fact, the good counsel and support (and sometimes a gentle shove) of a close friend are often key ingredients in enabling us to step out of the boat! 

The outer ring of your team consists of coworkers, colleagues, partners and business co-owners.  Since many of our waking hours are spent with these people, it behooves us to work with them in a collegial, collaborative way. I’m consistently amazed at the creative solutions our team at Serra Ventures produces when we put our hearts and heads together.  Yes, each of us is competent in his or her own right – but blending our talents together usually produces beautiful results.

If you are contemplating a risk – personal or professional -- consider bringing your team into the middle of the process. You’ll find that evaluating and taking risks is better with your team for several reasons:

-       Your weak spots will be complemented by others’ strengths.

-       Your best will be made better through the effect of synergy, where 1 plus 1 equals 3.

-       You will be encouraged when encountering difficulty and challenge.

-       And finally, your resilience and effectiveness will increase, knowing that you’re not alone in taking steps of faith.

Fostering rich relationships is an important life skill. The more you “sow” in this regard, the more you’ll “reap”, eventually building a team that will encourage and strengthen you throughout life’s journey.  And you’ll be better equipped to take meaningful risks along the way.