A Great Dream Requires A Great Team

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There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Fast is fun for a while. It’s great to cover a lot of ground, but then you get weary and worn. Going far simply can’t be done without people to support you. There’s a place for both. Sometimes you need to pull ahead and move fast. Other times you need a great team to carry you.

I have come to realize that that my instinct is to tackle projects alone. I love collaboration, but I often doubt that others actually want to play with me. Because of this, the hardest part of chasing a dream for me is to know how to invite people in. I’m trying to start a movement of people who buck the status quo and choose to pursue impact and meaning, but I don’t know how to do that. I easily revert to just doing it myself, but I can only get so far alone.

No one accomplishes great things unless there are others that want them to succeed.

You can do a lot by yourself but you can do the impossible with a great team.

Here’s some of how it works for me (a developing model): I know that I have this deep desire to work with others yet a tendency to go alone, so I work to bring others in as much as possible. I meet once a week with a small group of Masterminders, I meet every couple of weeks with other friends who are constant encouragers, I have a wider circle that I consider advisors who I go to with questions and places of tension. And I have a handful of therapists with whom I talk about my work with my clients. Most importantly, beyond those people, I have you. You’re reading this and you’re striving toward making your meaning in the world, and I know that we’re in this together.

In the comments, what about you? How do you invite people into your dream? Do you tend to go alone (fast) or with others (far)? Click here to comment.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 12 Comments On This Post.

  1. Corey G

    Hey Dan,

    I’ve actually been thinking about what you and I talked about a year ago, and I’m remembering that there is a teacher inside of me. I tend to think greatly and then falter when it comes to execution. I prefer fast and alone rather than slow and together, but lately I am discovered that I have been teaching, and that has been a covert way of inviting others in. Of course, they all say, “Slow down, let’s take a look at how this is actually going to happen.” So my “teaching” is really just an invitation into “being taught” and learning. Looking ahead, I am realizing that I will need so much help (networking, collaborating, asking questions, finding good leadership), and that all starts with asking for it.

    Inviting others in is tough on my ego, but enriching to my soul.

    Thanks for your bravery; it’s contagious.

    Corey G

    • I love your reflection, Corey! Thanks for sharing. I’m grateful to be a part of your process. It also sounds like you’ve been doing some great work since then! I’m glad you continue to invite others in— even if it’s covert! Keep it up.

  2. Deb

    Great post, Dan! I’m a guilty loner, but I actually love to collaborate. Somehow, I just never seem to get around to it. I’d love to hear more about the groups you’ve been meeting with–how did you start a “Masterminds” club, etc? Awesome ideas I can see myself exploring.
    Also, I think you’d like the book, Organizing Genius–the Secrets of Creative Collaboration, by Bennis & Biederman. It’s an excellent study of what the book names “Great Groups” and it considers attributes those groups had in common. Somewhere it the book is written, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Love that.

    • Thanks Deb! I added Organizing Genius to my book list. It looks interesting!

      I’d love to share some more about our Mastermind group. It’s a small group of people starting projects. We are (mostly) in a similar place with our projects. We help each other work through challenges and talk each other off ledges when necessary. It’s good to have the company and camaraderie 😉 I’m hoping to share more about Mastermind groups in a post soon!

      • What do you mean talk each other off ledges? 😉

  3. Darci

    i feel ya, dan! sometimes, too, i think i try to do things on my own so that if i fail no one else will know. even something as seemingly singular as writing is so much more achievable when you are a part of a group or class. pretty much every goal i make i have to have someone for accountability at least, and even then i seem to lose motivation these days! so many goals and dreams and ideas and yet nothing seems to happen. there’s no class with assignments and deadlines and grades to measure how i am doing anymore. definitely a subject that has been on my mind a lot these days!

  4. Lee Ann

    same! i used to convey this sentiment to people around me all the time, though i found that this, instead of netting me a high quality circle of companions with which i can pursue greater hieghts with, might have in fact contributed to a sense of hesitance and reluctance to even try extending the offer of teamwork. since then, i have come to learn the importance of other people and focus on the people i wish to work with. seeing it as less of a top down, “if they dont want to work with me, whatever lol their loss” mindset and a more “i have to make them feel like working with me too”. of course, my sense of intuition is not perfect and i have pursued friendships that have not turned out in as ideal a manner as i’d hoped- be it being unable to click on an intellectual/ emotional level or just not being able to gel with personalities, but ultimately, surrounding yourself with a group of people you can properly connect and identify with is incrementally important. here’s an article i think offers some interesting extensions to this train of thought: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelsimmons/2013/07/22/power-of-relational-thinking/2/#3ff6aa675b51

    also, i’d really love to parttake in some online circles since broadening my horizons sounds like something so interesting yet so daunting and it’d be much easier if there were groups open to random collaboration with strangers…. do you happen to know some?

    • Hi Lee Ann! You’re totally right about it being a two way street. You have to be supportive of others if you hope to be supported by them.

      As far as online circles, I’d recommend starting with whatever kind of collaboration you’re looking for. Find people who are into the same things. Facebook groups and forums are a great place to start. If you shoot me an email with more specifics, I may be able to make some recommendations.

      Thanks!

  5. Hine Marsh

    Hi. I been having these dreams about the father to my kid’s we have been apart for two years and a bit he is still alive he has a girlfriend the first one was few weeks ago he ask me to marry him but I just stood there like say nothing then I had other one but this time she was in it but like he was trying to tell me something just two days ago I had other one but this time it was just him what does that mean

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