No matter what you achieve, no matter your accomplishments, no matter how hard you work, you will always have others to thank for your success.
One of the most humbling things in my life is that, when I look back over the things that I think I have accomplished, I realize that so much of it has very little to do with me and very much to do with those that were willing to take a chance on me or pour into me.
In my younger years (and still now) I was taught by loving parents and shown an example of how to live a life full of graciousness and love. I was taught the value of hard work but not at the expense of the more important things in life.
In my high school years, I was pushed to grow by great teachers and coaches that were able to pick out abilities unique to me and challenge me to grow them beyond my comfort zone (choir and acting, who would have thought?).
In college, professors, with a lifetime of wisdom, poured time into me and invested in my future in such a valuable way that I am only now just beginning to understand. Many of these professors were completely financially independent and did not need to spend their time teaching to earn a living but simply gave of their experience to those who were willing to listen.
Beyond college and into the workplace. Working with two incredible colleagues in my first financial firm who took the time to teach and guide a very young and green advisor. Working with the owner of that firm, who in an incredibly gracious manner allowed me to purchase part of his hard-built firm so that I could launch out on my own as he saw the entrepreneurial bent that I had. As I have now grown my own firm, I see much more what an incredible gift it was to pass this opportunity on to me.
In marriage, being married to your mother. One of the smartest and insightful people I know, who has again and again not only gone along with my new (sometimes crazy) ideas, but has fully supported me and offered incredible wisdom and discernment in the decisions we have made.
And to take it even further, in all those who have written books or spoken through the years whose knowledge I have absorbed. The countless books, talks, speeches, and conferences where I have been able to absorb in a short amount of time the nuggets of wisdom that have taken people a lifetime to learn is invaluable.
What we learn from those who have gone before us is truly priceless. So do not make the mistake of thinking that your accomplishments or success are yours alone. They are really quite the opposite.
Seek out great shoulders to stand on.
So, seek out great shoulders to stand upon. As you walk through life, remember that there are always those who are wiser and more experienced than you. Not only that, but those who possess humility in their success also know that they too are standing on the shoulders of greatness and are often willing to pour into someone who genuinely wants to learn and grow.
Let someone else stand on your shoulders.
Remember also to be willing to pass on your experience, wisdom, and insight to those who are earnestly seeking to grow. There are few things more fulfilling than helping someone grow further and faster than you did by allowing them to absorb what you have learned in a shorter amount of time than you were able to.