Every day we make choices about what to wear, what to eat, our mindset, whether to do that Bikram yoga class or that 5km run, what our big fat hairy audacious goals are for the day. We can also make a choice about the way we want to work and our own leadership style.
In the early days of my career, I’ll be honest – it was all about ME. I was ambitious and driven, and wanted to climb the career ladder as quickly as possible. On the flip side, I didn’t want to share my vulnerabilities or ask for help – it was very much about putting on the face of bravado at work and then letting the mask go at home.
What I have learnt from my own corporate and life experiences is that ME doesn’t cut it anymore. Whilst the space of ME may make you feel like you are in control of your own destiny, that you are fully in charge of steering your own ship forward through calm and stormy waters, it also comes with loneliness. Having to make decisions alone (and assuming that only you have the answer to a particular problem), having to face fears alone, having to pull yourself out of any mistakes alone and also celebrating alone. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take ownership of ourselves, our leadership, our business or our careers, but alone?
This isn’t an effective way to grow and thrive as we start another year.
On the other hand, the WE space looks mighty attractive. The WE way of thinking shares, teaches and builds. The WE space connects and contributes, enables collective thinking, builds intelligence and allows us to move quicker together. It’s a space where there is:
- An equal exchange of give and take
- The chance to play and influence at the edge and beyond of your comfort zone
- The opportunity to make decisions that will future proof careers and business
- A way of finding new solutions and generating new ideas to existing problems.
The WE space is where collaboration enables the freedom to explore, to develop plans, to think creatively and above all to lead. To lead is to inspire. Inspiration drives innovation, invention and game changing strategies that are scalable and leverageable.
The evolution from ME to WE isn’t always an easy one.
First you have to own yourself – take ownership of your decisions, what you want, your skills and personal values and above all understand the shift that you alone need to make to move from your comfort zone to achieving more.
Second, look for your tribe and key influencers and connect in. Be prepared to engage on a wider level with your team and others in your workplace. Appreciate what others have to give and understand your role, and what you can contribute, within the context of a wider community of connections.
When you are at ease with your own path within the context of a wider community, this is when you are able to enter a space where you are totally aligned and congruent with the value you have to bring to the group. You have evolved to the WE space because you have the courage and confidence to give and take, and you engage 100% in collaborative working practices that develop idea generation and innovative thinking.
I have made choices, and the choices that I make now are based on collaborative opportunities. They may not necessarily have been the decisions that selfish me would have taken in the past, but then selfish me would not be celebrating or commiserating or discussing with others in a like-minded WE space.
Selfish me would be alone at the end of every journey.
That’s how I know that togetherness can, and does, create the momentum of change and the opportunity for greatness.