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Thursday, September 8, 2016

You Don't Have to Do it Alone

Group projects were the worst.

Extrovert that I am, all through middle school and high school I hated them. Because my pride, my patronizing others and their ability to get the work done and done well siphoned me off. I didn't need or want any help from anyone.

I was going to do it all by myself.

Thoughts and feelings of others, be damned. I could do it better and faster. Alone. I wasn't mean about it. At least, I hope I wasn't. It was just the way it was. I'd take on a little more of the workload here and there, because I knew I could get it done. On time. With a guaranteed "A" in the back-pocket.

Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom!

What's worse is that I knew better. I've had friendships along the way that have treated me similarly. The mistrust. The micromanaging. The control drove me crazy. It was borderline insulting.

You don't think I'm capable of doing x, y, or z?

You don't think I can make a phone call or turn in a paper without you checking in?

You don't think I'm as smart or as capable as you? 

Don't we have the same letters behind our names?

Didn't we grow up in the same school system? Aren't we in the same life stage?

Of course, it was only obnoxious when others treated me this way. Their actions weren't justified, unlike mine, of course. I carried this attitude into grad school, adulthood, and advanced adulthood (where they teach you about taxes and explain the secret that no one really knows what they're doing).

 I carried this attitude until I became a runner. And stumbled upon this phrase in the midst of training, group runs, dodging in and out of running stores:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

 Well, then. Shall we cue the mic drop?

I took a look at how I was treating others in the midst of what I thought was supreme leadership skills and a good work ethic and realized it was the opposite. It was jagged, iron-jawed control. It was stepping on toes. It was selfish. And what's worse, it inhibited others from flourishing.

It was hard to step back and admit that someone might have a better idea than me. Someone might be more qualified and have more experience. Bringing other people into the mix, into the story,  might carry all of us farther.

It might be what community was designed for.

This week, my dear boss lady friend and I launched our very first podcast episode. And let me tell you, it has been a group effort from the very start. From our pictures, to our logo, our theme song, to our episode itself, so many people had a hand in the process.

And we've come so much further together by inviting other people in. By their being willing to work with us. By the privilege of having people who design, snap photos, compose musical tracks and produce audio so much better than we ever could, support us.

Carry some of the load. And sing their wonderful praises along the way (I'm looking at you Christen, Amanda, and my wonderful husband, Gordon).

I'm a writer, primarily. So much of what I do is solitary. And for so long, I liked it that way: I had no one to keep accountable but myself.

But, until this project launched, I'd forgotten how important and utterly fun it is to invite others in. We're lucky. We have some great people standing beside us.

And we didn't do any of it alone for one second.


1 comment

Whitney said...

I'm at work and can't listen to the first episode yet, but I'm super excited! Way to be for going after your dreaaaaaams. <3

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