For most of my life I’ve subscribed to the philosophy that if you want something done right, it’s just better to step up and do it yourself. I’ve always mowed my own lawn. I’ve painted every wall in our house. I’ve written every word I’ve published. And serviced every real estate transaction — from start to finish.
As a former competitive athlete and until very recently, a “soloprenuer,” I’ve adopted a mentality of personal ownership. An army of ONE — not allergic to ‘putting in the work,’ nor interested in receiving recognition.
But the challenge is . . . there are distinct limitations to what ONE can accomplish when viewing the world through that set of lenses. Even the strongest of wills and the noblest of aspirations is smothered by the restraints of both time and energy.
For close to a decade now, I’ve oscillated back and forth between craving the comfort of self-sufficiency and feeling pulled to create a vision big enough to accommodate others.
The chasm between fulfilling MY potential versus OUR potential. Opposite ends of a spectrum, requiring completely different skill sets. And demanding a different allocation of time, focus and resources.
My friend Ryan, this week, wrote about that chasm . . .
“It’s the fear of the unknown that stops most of us from reaching our potential. We’re capable of more, we know it. But that gap, the clearing between the jungle of where we are, and our highest potential … that’s the open field of grass, where we’re vulnerable.
In the jungle where we live, we know every square inch. Every tree. Every vine. We know where to hide and how to navigate the environment to be able to protect ourselves.
But in the clearing, there’s nothing.
Just an open field. No shelter. No cover.
On the other side of that clearing is a new jungle … we believe ‘that’s where’ our highest potential lives. But we’ve never been there. The threat and danger of the clearing has always stopped us.
And, if you muster the courage … if, terrified, you make it through the clearing, to the other side … Then what?
Now you’re in a strange land, a jungle much different than the one you came from, where the stakes are higher. Both the rewards and the risks. And now you must learn to navigate this new world…”
Back in late February, I turned to this same Ryan, when internally, I questioned whether I had the courage and the conviction to make the journey, unprotected — across the clearing — from one jungle to the next. His advice then, was much the same:
“Learning to navigate the ‘new world’ is hell of a lot less painful than sitting with the question of . . . What if?”
Very similar to a quote from John Wooden that I heard yesterday morning, “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”
You see, back in February, Ryan told me . . . “It’s time for you to up the ante. You are a teacher. A leader. You are between roles. You need to put teammates on your side, behind enemy lines. Leading will give you a greater purpose. Leaders take greater joy in the success of others than in their own.”
And as much as I wanted to believe that was true, I had yet to change my perspective. My lenses. The horizon was cloudy, at best.
But in recent weeks, things have come into focus. WE have started to come out of the clearing. WE are at the footsteps of our new jungle.
My new Associate, Ryan, [there are all kinds of Ryan’s in my life] closed his first transaction on Wednesday. This, after late last month, having his first two offers accepted. And though I was there to guide him through the process, he deserves the lion’s share of the credit.
His first closing. His contracts. His hard work and perseverance. Our teamwork. They are seminal moments, in their own right.
But collectively, these past few months have helped me to better understand the the concept of power in numbers. The true meaning behind OUR potential.
An army of one can only make so much impact. But just as a small team of Navy Seals can defeat hundreds, there are no limitations to the possibilities and the impact that can be made by a team of purpose-driven individuals.
A group of “Spartans,” as my friend Tim Murphy would say.
No man or woman is “self-made.” We all need community. Camaraderie. Others to watch our backs and fight with us side by side.
More importantly though, we need each other to grow … To see new possibilities. To push out into the clearing and past our individual limitations.
Because it is in and through others that we come face to face with a higher potential and a greater purpose
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