Who ya gonna call? (At 3:00 am…)

Life is a team sport. As much as we all like to pretend we’re “self-made,” the reality is that we are largely the product of those we choose to surround ourselves with (and vice versa). Whether at home or at work, we accomplish more by having a strong support system. This was never more real to me than when I found myself in a CAT scan machine at 3:00 am. The morning I was supposed to kick off a three day training. 

So a bit of backstory. Like many, I suffer from mild migraines. Over the years I’ve learned to manage and prevent them, so I can usually go a few months without suffering from one. And when one does strike, it usually just means I must turn off the lights and go to bed early. Far from what many must deal with, so I won’t complain. But there was one that got away from me. 

After a full day of travel I checked into my standard hotel room on the outskirts of a small city in the midwest of the USA. I had a screaming headache and was scheduled to kick off a three-day training the next day. I figured sleep is just what I needed. But sleep is not what I got. For whatever reason, I could not get to sleep and the pain in my head continued to build and build. Eventually, I thought my head was going to explode. About 2:30 am I finally decided to call the front desk to see if there was a 24-hour clinic. They informed me that there wasn’t one anywhere near and my best bet was to drive 20 minutes to the nearest emergency room. Needless to say, I was not happy. 

After a very painful drive I checked myself into the emergency room where they set me up to have a CAT scan. It was at this point that I realized I was not going to be able to make my training the next morning and I needed to figure out what to do. Twenty new sales reps had flown in from all across the country to spend the next three days with me in a program I designed and typically ran by myself.  After racking my brain for a few minutes, I settled on two managers in the local office I thought I could phone up and rely on. So, I did. At 3:00 am. 

I can imagine nobody wants to get a call that early, for any reason. I guess they were relieved that it wasn’t anything more serious than a colleague from HQ who they kind of liked and who wasn’t feeling well, but I’m also sure they weren’t happy to be woken up in the middle of the night. And not happy to now be saddled with running a 3-day training with no prep and no warning. But they did it. 

Both of them had the same response: get feeling better, we’ve got this, we’ll see you when you’re well enough to join us. They hadn’t planned on being in the training, let alone running it. They had their own plans, their own deliverables those days. But they stepped up and knocked it out of the park. When I finally felt human enough to show my face mid-way through day two, it was clear I didn’t really need to be there. They had the entire thing under control and were doing a great job. 

This is the value of your team. Whatever that team looks like. Nobody is successful alone. So whether you are starting a team, building a team, or looking to join a team, look to those who share these traits:


Team-first mentality.


The buck stops here.


Stinginess in one area is often a symptom of stinginess in all areas.


Willing to help alleviate the suffering of others.

Hard working

Nothing worth doing is easy, it’s going to take lots of time and effort.


Work is hard, look for those who make it light.

Oh, and be those same things for others. You all go farther together.