The Trouble With Coat Tails

Why it’s important to build your own network, keep working on your trust bank and avoid being seen as a freeloading sleeve-tugger.

Taz Thornton
6 min readMar 25, 2018

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The trouble with coat tails is that they’re hard to hold onto. Sooner or later, the wearer of said coat will either see you riding along and flick you off, or they’ll take a sharp turn you weren’t expecting and you’ll inevitably lose your grip and fall off. Face down. Probably into a muddy puddle. In the rain.

It’s taken me many years of putting myself out there, showing up, networking, being of service, doing my best to create useful, engaging content and, frankly, turning up to the opening of an envelope to get my contacts list to the point it’s at today.

And I’m still building. If we look at my levels of ‘success’ in terms of Everest, I don’t think I’m even at base camp yet.

But here’s the thing… perception is king, and there are lots of people out there who seem to believe I’m about to plant my little pink flag at the summit. Some are cheering me on. Some are grumbling and wondering how I got there before them. Some just couldn’t care less if they tried. And then there are the ones who expect me to just snap my fingers and beam them right up there to enjoy the view and soak up all the benefits it’s taken me years — decades — to amass.

This latter group are the sleeve tuggers. The freeloaders. The ones who seem to think it’s perfectly okay to ride on someone else’s coat tails without putting any effort into taking their oh-so-comfy seat. Maybe you’ve met some of these people in your travels? I’m finding them more and more.

This latter group are the sleeve tuggers. The freeloaders. The ones who seem to think it’s perfectly okay to ride on someone else’s coat tails without putting any effort into taking their oh-so-comfy seat. Maybe you’ve met some of these people in your travels? I’m finding them more and more.

The power is within YOU

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Taz Thornton

3 X TEDx speaker, bestselling author, award-winning confidence & visibility coach. Creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome empowerment & #ProjectArtemis programmes.