There’s a quiet, unassuming island off the coast of Georgia. People go there today to relax and walk along the beach that stretches the seven-mile length of the island on the east side. Or they may ride bicycles along its 20 miles of trails or enjoy a few rounds of golf. The reason they go there is very much the same as it was back in the early 1900’s – to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
These days, they get there by car, via a bridge from the mainland. But in the early days, there was no bridge, and so the winter residents would arrive via their private yachts from the north. You see, there’s also a historical district on the island, and in those days, some of the biggest movers and shakers in the world lived there during the winter months. These are names we all recognize: Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Morgan, McCormick, Crane, Goodyear, and Pulitzer, just to name a few. Together, they formed the Jekyll Island Club and jointly purchased the island.
On this little unassuming island, historic events took place – like the secret meeting which formed the Federal Reserve and the first transcontinental phone call (placed in 1915 by Theodore Vail, president of AT&T and member of the Jekyll Island Club, to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Watson and President Woodrow Wilson). Interestingly, the call connections took two hours to complete from the east coast island to the west coast.
As you walk the grounds today, it is impactful to realize that some of the greatest innovators and business leaders of our time walked those same grounds a century before. As you stand in the study of William Rockefeller and look across at the Jekyll Island Club, you wonder what conversations and business ideas came from the time they spent together on that island.
The biggest takeaway from this is that these great minds recognized the value of working together and learning from each other. Individually, they would have no doubt been successful because that was their nature. But together, in various ventures, that success took on a monumental scale.
We talk a lot about masterminds and surrounding yourself with those who inspire, encourage, and hold you accountable to be the best you can be. These folks recognized the importance of that long ago. Really, they all started out as regular people like the rest of us. Some grew up in hardship situations. But they worked hard, strategized, and pulled together teams to do what many considered impossible. They bought an island, built railroads, established nationwide communications, and laid the groundwork for many of the modern conveniences we enjoy today.
So here’s the question: Who are you associating with on a daily basis?
Are you spending time with those who pull you down, or are you collaborating with those who will bring you up?
Are you talking with idea crushers or innovators?
Are you trying to go it alone, or are you creating the kind of connections that will change the world?
Who is in YOUR Club?