People First Then Process

It can be argued that without the right coach and without the right supporting cast, Michael Jordan never would have had the same success and career that he ended up having. It wasn’t until his seventh year in the league before he won his first NBA championship. He was a one-man show in Chicago through the first six seasons in a Bulls uniform, putting up gaudy stats but with no rings to show for all his work.

In 1989, the Bulls hired a new coach – Phil Jackson – who would help harness Jordan’s talents for the good of the team and propel the Bulls to their first championship in 1991. Between 1991 and 1998, the Chicago Bulls won six championships, becoming one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. Until Phil Jackson came along, Jordan was a superstar, but he was spinning his wheels trying to do everything himself.

In their book, Who Not How, authors Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy explain why it’s the Who and not the How that holds the key to success in any endeavor. Surrounding yourself with the right people is more vital to progress and success than figuring out how to do something independently. Even Warren Buffett had a mentor in Benjamin Graham.

Sullivan and Hardy propose that entrepreneurs and business leaders are asking the wrong questions when it comes to achieving goals and achieving the lofty heights of success and the pinnacles of their industries.

They torment over questions like:

“How can I do this?”

“How do I achieve this goal?”

“What more can I do?”

Instead, they should be asking:

“Who can help me or us achieve this?”

“Who can do this for me or us?”

Surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to gaining your freedom of time, money, relationships, and purpose. Those who insist on going it alone or seek solutions on their own often exert far more energy and spend far too much money to achieve a fraction of the success they can gain by fostering the right kinds of relationships.

Tapping into the right Who can gain you the following freedoms:

Freedom of TIME…

Tapping the expertise, knowledge, and experience of the right Who in your entrepreneurial endeavors allows you to focus on your talents, skills, and abilities instead of wasting time on what you’re not good at. The potential of tapping into others’ strengths and resources while honing our skills and abilities is limitless. You’ll get better results, experience personal growth, and find yourself procrastinating less.

Freedom of MONEY…

Combining your strengths with the strengths of others can only multiply your earnings. Like building cars, you can spend a whole day building one car on your own – often with poor results – or collaborate with a team of specialists to build 100 top-quality cars a day.


As you surround yourself with world-class mentors and collaborators who help you achieve new heights of success, you’ll gain new levels of time and money freedom. The direct byproduct of time and money freedom is the coveted flexibility to connect/partner with people you want to build relationships with and spend more time with the people you love and enjoy being around.

Freedom of PURPOSE…

Every Who that you add to your growing network of trusted mentors, confidantes, and advisors with complementing strengths, resources, and fresh perspectives who compensate for your own gaps and weaknesses will only serve to free up your time/energy for what matters most in your life. You increase in freedom of time, money, and relationships, then allow you to truly pursue your passions and dreams instead of getting stuck in the hamster wheel of the daily grind.

It’s clear that the key to success is in the Who and not the How, but not just any Who will do. Surrounding yourself with the wrong Who can have an equally exponential result – but in the wrong direction. That’s why it’s important to foster and develop relationships with the right Who, but how does one find the right Who?

Here are some tips for finding the right Who:

  • Be clear on what you want.
  • Communicate and project your vision far and wide to attract the right connections.
  • Ask yourself, “Who can help me achieve this?”
  • Once you’ve found a complementary Who, engage and support them to realize the shared vision.


Mike Ayala has owned and operated mobile home parks since 2007, and has been active in construction and management since he was 15 years old. He graduated from the Associated Builders and Contractors 4-year project management program at age 22 and then became a licensed instructor. He is also the host of the Investing for Freedom podcast.