Right now you are participating in something great and you may not realize it. We all belong to many different communities, diverse communities, communities with different goals and different ambitions. Last week we talked about priorities and how to decide what is most important to us, today we will be talking about how we can act upon those priorities and maximize our results. Today we will discuss the power of community.
There was no single person who put a man on the moon, no one individual built a canal that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific, it takes a community to accomplish anything great. In order to build a skyscraper years of land acquisition and planning are done ahead of time, architects, bankers, masons, iron workers, electricians, plumbers and hundreds of other professions get involved. It takes a community to coordinate the efforts of individuals and align them toward a common goal. No single individual can come close to matching the productivity and sheer power that can be mustered thru community.
We spend so much of our time improving ourselves and not our communities, we are misguided and often deny ourselves the opportunity to accomplish something truly great. If I asked you right now what goals you have what would they be? I’ve heard “get my masters”, “invest more in my 401k”, and run a marathon. I-I-I, Me-Me-Me, rarely do our goals include a “we”. Our focus is almost always on self improvement and not on communal improvement.
Let’s step back for a moment. A goal is a successful end to some effort. We all want to succeed, we all want to accomplish great things yet we limit our success to only that which we have 100% control over. If you really want to accomplish something great use the power in your communities. Set larger goals that require help from others, then work to get your community to hit that mark. I understand that this can be scary because failure can occur due to something beyond your control and success might be credited to someone other than you, BUT if you are willing to forego the natural self-centered desire for attention and accept success of the group as a personal accomplishment you will absolutely see your dreams become reality. Harry Truman once said “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit”. We need to let go of our built in selfish mindset and focus on our families, focus on our friends, focus on our coworkers, these are our communities.
Now if we take the three example goals I mentioned earlier we can easily develop community focused counterparts. “my masters”, “my finances”, “my health” we can turn each into a greater accomplishment. In addition to taking a class try teaching a class, get involved with children or maybe a specialized user group at work, share your expertise and build up those around you. Don’t only set aside a % of your income for yourself, commit a % to a charity, or better yet get involved in a charity and help raise funds, donate some of your precious time, and recruit others. Don’t run that marathon alone, pump up your friends and family that may have similar ambitions and train with them, align your common desire and do it as a group. Now I ask you, what will be more fulfilling in the end, being taught or teaching, saving for yourself or providing for others, reaching that finish line alone or with your friends?
I’m not going to kid you here, this kind of work is hard, it’s different, and it does not come naturally BUT if you are willing to put forth the effort and grow from an Internal Focus to an External Focus in everything that you do I can guarantee you that great accomplishments lay ahead.
Forget the me, believe in we, unit those around you, and reach for the stars.