If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together. -African Proverb

Many of us focus on goals, efficiency, productivity.  How can we do this faster? How do we get more bang for our buck? What can be changed to create a more effective system? When we are looking at life or business through this lens, people become a means to an end.  This lens will not serve us well in the long run because people are both the means and the end.

One lens asks, “How do I achieve as rapidly as I can?” The other lens asks, “How can I surround myself with amazing people and build deep relationships?”

Relationships are more than just strategic chess pieces. Relationships help us create and achieve beyond our wildest dreams. Many of us are in the middle of things that are too big for us to accomplish — that’s a good thing. When something is too big for our one mind, one set of resources, one set of experiences, we are forced to get others involved. This is where the magic happens.  If we are only doing what we can accomplish, we are not thinking big enough. Authentic, deep relationships bring new knowledge, new tactics, new support, new resources, new experiences, and new growth.

In an interview, Brene Brown said, “I was raised in a “get ‘er done” and “suck it up” family and culture (very Texan, German-American). The tenacity and grit part of that upbringing has served me, but I wasn’t taught how to deal with uncertainty or how to manage emotional risk. I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. Learning how to be vulnerable has been a street fight for me, but it’s been worth it.”

Relationships are more than just strategic chess pieces. Relationships help us create and achieve beyond our wildest dreams.Brown, the leading researcher on shame and vulnerability, recognizes that doing it alone keeps you stuck in places you never meant to be.  Working together requires vulnerability that creates something far beyond success and much more akin to genuine community.  And after all, “it takes a village. . .”

The mindset that directs us to put our heads down and focus on our own success will cause us to run past what matters most.  Adam Grant, a researcher on the power of relationships, says, “No matter how goal-oriented you are, a good chunk of your success depends on your peripheral vision.” By focusing on relationships, we not only increase the odds of achieving our goals, we co-create a more fulfilling journey.


Photo by Ian Macharia on Unsplash


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