Throughout history we’ve celebrated epic adventurers! Stories where individuals, through great sacrifice, overcame great odds and made a mark in history live forever in our hearts and minds.
From Martin Luther King’s civil rights journey in America, Aung San Suu Kyi’s great courage in Burma, Mahatma Gandhi’s quiet strength pitted against the British in India, or Abraham Lincoln’s revolutionary and inspiring life in America (I know…we could go on and on) we truly admire our civilization’s greatest heroes!
We instinctively understand the importance of an individual’s contribution to achieve a great success — I don’t have to try to convince you of that.
But history also shows that these great individuals accomplished nothing on their own…and these historical leaders knew it.
But for most of us…we forget.
Even though our culture idolizes and celebrates these great individual accomplishments, history tells us that each leader didn’t walk alone — they gathered around themselves groups of committed adventurers and walked together.
But our culture continues to consistently celebrate the concept of a single heroic individual and ignores the power of their dedicated group.
The power of we.
I don’t know and for right now…don’t care.
My point is: when we consider great movements from the past our culture focuses our attention on the individual and we end up missing the deeper truth.
The deeper truth: throughout history sustainable movements were created and made by small dedicated groups of courageous individuals walking towards a common vision…not just one individual doing courageous things by themselves.
We is where the power truly lies…not in the I.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not attempting to declare that I isn’t important.
I is very important.
The point is…
The point is…the best I can do by myself is dwarfed by the power that we accomplishes.
When compared to we…I is more fragile.
You know this…I know this.
But many of us are consistently avoiding this reality in life, in our communities and especially in the context of business!
I’ve come to believe that many of us don’t really understand the dynamics that make up we and because of this, coupled with our propensity to celebrate the individual, we forget an important concept.
We includes me.
But it’s not how we normally think and act in our day-to-day existence.
We think, work, and behave as if, “If I choose to be part of we, I’m turning my back on me.”
Our choice then becomes binary.
Choose me or choose you…hmmmmm…let me think on that one?
…my world celebrates the individual…everything about our social media celebrates the individual…everything about the selfie and our celebrity culture celebrates the individual…wonder what I should do here???
Oh yeah…I know…
“Alex…I’ll pick me for $200 thank you!”
Alongside this overt cultural pressure, another cultural pressure exists: our Judeo-Christian culture. This culture tells us: something is fundamentally flawed with me and the path to overcoming this flaw (think: salvation) comes through denying myself and engaging in selfless service to you (which shows my devotion to a bigger You, God). In my desire for redemption and a righteous feeling (as well as feeling a bit heroic!)…I’ll place you above me. In fact, I’ll ignore me and just focus on you (or at least I’ll try or act like I’m trying)!
In my attempt to be a better human being I must squelch me in order to serve you!
Being me means I’m selfish and bad while focusing on you means I’m honorable and good.
This inner struggle — though subtle, is very powerful.
Again our choice becomes binary. I must choose either what many would call my darker side (just me) or I must choose my higher or more enlightened side (not me, only you).
In this dynamic...there isn’t much room for we…since the choice is really only me or only you. So if I choose we, I’m really choosing you!
My we then transforms into just you.
We find ourselves in this conflict of either ignoring me in the context of we and missing the chance to align ourselves with the power of we!
we run to the other extreme and loudly celebrate just me and fall into the same hole — missing the chance to align ourselves with the power of we!
The truth then is…
that we includes me!
I haven’t lost anything at all if I choose “we.” The only loss occurs if I stay stuck in my original binary choice — pick me or pick you.
We demands a fully engaged me. We wants all of me to show up and become fully engaged.
With this thinking, I’ve gained something greater than just me — I now have me and you together!
We needs each of us to stop the politeness of elevating you over me and start showing up. We also need the bully in us to stop making it all about just me and step into the power of we.
We (this combined entity of you and me) has lots of needs and requirements…so we each must pay closer attention by staying present, being connected with ourselves and others, and walking together toward a relevant common vision.
Successful we action needs a noble cause or higher-order-pursuit that binds our me’s into we’s.
Self-interested pursuits that damage our humanity, our company, our community and our world aren’t good for us we’s!
We demands the best and highest of each of us.
We overcomes anything.
We stands the test of time.
We is power…
I is forceful, but we is powerful!
I am my most fragile when I’m disconnected, isolated and alone!
I am my most powerful when I’m plugged into something greater than just myself and my own accomplishments.
I understand that by plugging into the Power of We…I win!
At Mazzi, we believe that we’s are more powerful than just me’s.
We believe that together wins when we’s all win!
Many others agree. Do you?