You CAN Make it on Your Own

I haven’t forgotten one of my first coaching interactions that took place years ago. My client was stuck. She talked about wanting go back to school and make some new contributions with her life. But she couldn’t do it, she explained. What was holding her back? Her husband didn’t fully support her to the extent she needed. I remember thinking, well, why don’t you try it anyways?

I’m not sure if she ended up pursuing school in the years since or if she’s still waiting for that support. Here’s what I do know: having other people in your corner can mean the world – especially the ones closest to you. But unfortunately sometimes the support of others is unavailable. Then what?

It’s a popular belief these days that no one attains success on their own. There is always a supporting cast. In many cases this is true, but fortunately, not in all. If you’re on your own, you can still make it. Here are the top two reasons:

Lonely Journey


So Many People Have Done It

The list of examples of all the people who have succeeded on their own is a long one. Chris Gardener, who inspired the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, overcame incredible odds to become a Wall Street legend after being homeless. Carolyn Jessop escaped a cult with her eight children in tow all by herself. So many single parents survived hardship to keep their children clothed and fed and give them a chance at a better life. (Remember Kevin Durant’s “Real MVP” speech?). Millions have migrated to new lands of opportunity with little more than the clothes on their backs and managed to carve out a new life for themselves and their families.

On the other hand, many others were handed success with all the support and resources they could handle along the way but still managed to let things fall apart.

To Say Otherwise Places a Self-Imposed Boundary

The second reason you can succeed on your own is a little more philosophical. It’s this: for the person who truly has no support system, the notion that success is not possible creates a self-fulfilling belief. Obviously the support of others makes a huge difference – and sometimes all the difference. But its absence does not guarantee failure – unless you believe it does.

Henry Ford once said that “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Making it on your own may seem impossible. In some cases it’s infinitely more difficult than with the aid of others. Given the choice, it would be foolish to pass up the helping hand of others. But if you don’t have it, don’t give up. Stay in the game. You can do it.

“It’s not the color or your skin or the place of your birth but the size of your hope that will determine where you will go in your life.” – John Johnson.

Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, trainer and thought leader.  Receive his new ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor by subscribing to his website  or follow him on Twitter.

Nathan Magnuson is an executive leadership consultant, speaker and author of the books Stand Out! and Ignite Your Leadership Expertise. Click to see the exciting ways Nathan is helping organizations and teams become more effective with Leadership-in-a-Box.