Who is Your “That Guy”?


While I take complete responsibility for all my failures and shortcomings, I take very little credit for my own success. Virtually all of the good things that have happened to me over the years have been the result of the collaborative efforts of many.

I have found most mature people not suffering from delusions of grandeur tend to share this perspective. Entrepreneurship is not about self-serving behaviors, it is about service beyond self.

Entrepreneurship is not about you, and when it becomes about you, trouble is not too far away.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely reject all the “self-made man” propaganda floating around business circles as patently false.

The media, journalists and publicists have created the illusion that this entrepreneur game is about one person, they have made legends of out of success stories like Bill Gates, Patrice Motsepe, Richard Branson, Luvuyo Rani and a host of other inspirational stories.

While I don’t question for a moment the legendary success of the aforementioned, I do question whether said success was solely a matter of “self.”

Behind every success are significant investments and contributions by some if not all of the following people: family, friends, associates, protagonists, antagonists, advisors, teachers, authors, mentors, coaches, and the list could go on.

Other than in a Rambo movie, there is no such thing as an army of one. Smart entrepreneurs tend to seek out help wherever they can find it.

Without question, the most successful business people on the planet are those that have learned to blow through self-imposed barriers to openly harness the power of broader spheres of influence.

As much as some people won’t want to hear this, “help” is not a dirty word. Realizing that you need help is a sign of maturity, and asking for help is a sign of entrepreneurship sophistication.

If you want to raise your entrepreneurship game to a new level, learn to operate beyond the limitations of your own personal bubble and make yourself easy to help.

Go easy on believing your own hype, avoiding drinking your own kool aid.

There is always that person, Fredrick Kaonafatso Mamabolo calls him “that guy” who is always behind scene (by choice). That guy is your mentor, or coach, he supports you to to do better next time, every time, to fix this error here and avoid that one next time.

There is always someone behind the scenes who is there to highlight your blind spots and gentle nudges you back to the backbone. You need “that guy.”

  • Kenny Ortega was “that guy” to Michael’s Jackson.
  • Quincy Jones was that “that guy” to a lot of musicians.
  • Tom Hagen was consigliere, “that guy” to Don Vito Corleone.
  • Maya Angelou was “that lady” to Oprah Winfrey.
  • Kanye West was “that guy” to Jay-Z.
  • Constantine “Cus” D’Amato was “that guy” to Mike Tyson.
  • Walter Sisulu was “that guy” to Nelson Mandela.
  • Steve Jobs was “that guy” to Mark Zuikerberg
  • Warren Buffet is “that guy” to Bill Gates.
  • Sir Freddie Laker is “that guy” to Sir Richard Branson.

Who is your “that guy” or that “that lady”?

My next question is:

Are you easy to help? Think about it…do you make it easy for others to want to help you, or is your demeanor such that most people won’t lift a finger to assist you in a time of need?

How many times during the course of your career have you witnessed executives and entrepreneurs who desperately need help, but either don’t recognize it, or worse yet, make it virtually impossible for someone to help them? 

Smart entrepreneurs easily engage, effortlessly collaborate, and instinctively look for help from others. 

Asking others to help you means that you have looked and searched within yourself for resources and you have realised that you can’t help yourself. Asking for help is maturity to know that you have your own limitations and that you need someone to help you.

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.

Self-made man is a myth. The smartest move to make in business is to get a mentor, “that guy,” “that lady.”



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