Beware of the hero complex

When the N Train stops unexpectedly halfway across the Manhattan Bridge, my mind wonders if we have suddenly become part of a Marvel action movie where our subway car is the bargaining chip between the masked protagonist and the evil villain.

The story plays out in my mind that I somehow or another play a role in the ultimate victory and get a high-five from the good guy wearing spandex.

I relayed this story to a friend over coffee one morning and said, “I think this is why some folks think I have a hero complex.” He looked at me, took a sip of his quad-shot espresso and said, “Andy, you do have a hero complex. Watch out for that.”

Fine, I admit it. I want the ball when there is one second left. I love the pressure. I love the idea of swooping in and saving the day.  But it was my buddy’s warning that stuck with me that morning.

The more I considered it, the more it sunk in what he was saying.  Although performing under pressure is a great skill to have, it has to be the right performance in order for the pressure to extract a moment of greatness.

In the NBA Playoffs this year, there have been plenty of high-pressure shots. But, if you look at the breakdown of who takes that shot, it depends on where they are on the court and how many points they need for the win.  Different players are there for different situations and have different plans of attack.

The same needs to be true of the teams that we build in our organizations and companies.  Every team needs to know who has the skills and the abilities to take the big shot based on the situation.

No championship team has one superstar and a bunch of role players; there are always strong players for any possible situation.  Everyone has to know his or her role and how it layers into the overall strategy to bring home (“your business”) the big win.

The “watch out for that” advice has saved me from calling for the ball when it wasn’t my shot to take. This warning has made it easier to pass on what looked like a wide-open shot because I knew it was actually outside my comfort zone. The “watch out for that” has helped me realize that when we surround ourselves with others who are pursuing their best, the wins feel that much bigger because everyone contributed.

Amazing people build amazing teams. They are built with good intentions, dedicated practice and a self-actualized understanding of taking shots during key opportunities.

Understanding teamwork is just part of what we’ll be focusing on at Exobase NYC at the WeWork Soho West location in June. To be a part of the experience and learn alongside other entrepreneurs committed to their best, find more information here.

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