There is this proverb that distinguishes between going far and going fast. Seemingly, when one wants to go far, one goes alone, and when one wants to go far, we go with others.
In the years immediately after I exited the corporate world, the fiercely independent lone wolf in me had me salivating with delight over this proverb. I reveled in the ostensible pleasure of making ‘big’ decisions on the fly, free, unfettered and untethered by corporate BS dogma. I romanticized the freedom that accompanied running my little enterprise from my kitchen table. I waxed lyrical about the speed with which I could change my mind and follow through on my whims and fancies.
Except, I went neither far, nor fast.
What does ‘far’ and ‘fast’ mean anyway? Who knows at the onset of a journey how ‘far’ or how ‘fast’ you will be going? Sure, if you’re staying in your comfort zone, you may have a repertoire of experience that informs your estimation. Even then, it’s a best guess without guarantees. When you’re operating away from your comfort zone, or even just stretching yourself within your comfort zone, you may not even understand how ‘far’ you have to go before you can even move an iota or an inch. Often the momentum you seek lies at the other end of a steep learning curve and an arduous internal expedition.
Expeditions within are tricky. They can be maddening. They are uncomfortable and resplendent with detours and mirages. I have found that without a Sherpa to guide you, you will move frantically, only to stagnate or to regress.
I think of the fastest athletes and sportsman. Those with the right guides, managers, cheerleaders and sponsors make their way to the big arenas where they can compete for the most coveted prizes. They go fast. They also go far. The most talented sportsmen, without the right team inevitably see their talent atrophy. They can neither go far, nor fast.
Whoever you are and wherever you are in your journey, you need a squad.
Starting a business or your career? You need a squad.
Preparing your thesis? You need a squad.
Losing 8 kilos? You need a squad.
Recovering from an illness? You need a squad.
Healing from a disappointment or a broken heart? You need a squad.
Heading into an adventure? You guessed it! You need a squad.
What your squad looks like, will differ from person to person and from situation to situation. All the same, you need them. Your advisors, your guides and mentors, your cheerleaders, your soothers, your logistics managers, your buddies who let you vent, and your relative or best friend who tells you to drop the drama. You need them all.
Even the naysayers matter. Despite the fact that some of your critics may bring you to a dark night of the soul, they inevitably also deliver you to an audience with your deepest sense of self. They push you to a proclamation of who you will be. Inadvertently, they push you past your limitations toward your greatest triumphs. Or they bring you to your place of defeat. Either way, their influence on you is profound.
Whether you wish to go far, whether you wish to go fast, you are not an island. The notion of the lone wolf and the self-made man idealise and glamorize a fiction. In your life, to achieve anything meaningful, you need people.
All the barriers within you that drive you to keep people at bay, are wounds that keep you from your potential and from your dreams and from your most heartfelt yearnings.