“If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone…

Posted on Posted in Be Enlightened., Monty's Letter.

 

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But if you want to go far, go together.”

~ African Proverb

 

{Monty’s Letter, May 1, 2015}

If you’ve ever worked on a collaborative project, you know it isn’t easy. Even when you choose who you’re working with, love who you’re working with—it can be difficult. Life would be so much easier if people just did things the way we want! But it isn’t that simple, is it?

Over the next few months, we will be doing some shifting, expanding and collaborating at Be You that I’m incredibly excited about. And for me, the most exciting part isn’t the end result—it’s the collaboration itself.

In all of our interactions with other human beings, we still do some instinctive assessments. I imagine some tiny spot in our amygdala lighting up and asking “Friend or Foe? Competitor or Collaborator?” We do it, I’d assume, out of some self-preservation instinct that remains from when misreading a situation was likely to result in death. But now, each time we meet is an opportunity. Each time we speak with another person, we have the choice to build bridges—or walls. We can choose to collaborate, to celebrate each other, and to go further than we ever could separately.

I read a great quote from Erica Cook that summed it up perfectly:

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.”

 

While there is a place for healthy competition and it can serve to sharpen us, more and more it is a time to focus on collaborating. The more we help each other shine, the brighter everything becomes.

 

A few things I’ve learned about how to do this:

 

1. Begin from authenticity.

When we are authentic, we are doing a social form of natural selection. Put yourself out there in an open, genuine way, and you’re more likely to end up with people in your life who fit. (Continued authenticity does a great job of weeding out the people who don’t.)

2. Ask questions instead of assuming you understood.

“I hear you saying XYZ; is that right?” Asking respectful, clarifying questions is a great step toward better communication and fewer misunderstandings.

3. Clarify the big goal.

If can reach unity on the big goal, find a way to let go of your ego surrounding achieving the big goal your way. If the big goal on a project is to raise funds for an art show, be open to all ways of achieving that goal. Some mornings, my big goal is just getting everyone out the door on time; letting go of micromanaging how that happens reduces stress for all of us.

4. Remember that the people are always the important part.

People > Stuff. Always.

5. Collaboration is more than an action; it’s an attitude.

I realized something about my point of view recently. Maybe it’s naive, but I hope I never outgrow it. I realized that I always assume (unless shown otherwise) that people are on my side; my initial reaction to 99% of interactions is to look for commonalities, for ways to build a bridge. When we internalize this attitude, we don’t just end up having better individual connections. We change the way we see the world.

This world is a collaborative project, and when we forget that, we go nowhere—fast.

 

 

This month, may you find ways to build bridges instead of walls. May your authenticity lead to finding friends and allies with compatible weirdness. And may we all go farther, together.

 

 

With Love,

Kate Bartolotta, editor-in-chief

May 1, 2015

 

 

Photo: Be You Media archives

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