We > Me

We > Me

If you have ever heard me speak on a stage, or if we have had a conversation, you will often hear me say, “We’re glad to be here” or “Thanks so much for allowing us to be a part.” I have had people question me at great length about why I prefer to say “we” over “I.” Some have thought that maybe I am talking about the voices in my head. Here is the honest answer: I have never accomplished anything worth talking about alone.
Even the act of writing a book (which was one of the most lonely things I have ever done) was accomplished by nearly 100 people. Let me break that down for you. Just at the Nashville Zoo, 10 people were involved. Then there are the people who let me borrow a cabin to write, the dozens of baristas who have made me a coffee, and the countless number of interviews and real-life interactions that made the book. Not to mention my editor who has crafted my ramblings into something that makes sense, and, of course, my wife who has given hundreds of hours to allow me the margin to write. Sure I sat down and pounded on the keys, but without those people who you will never meet, those words would still be floating around my head.
We all live in a world where people want others to celebrate their accomplishments, and I get that. It’s fun to celebrate hard work. But I beg you to have the humility to understand that you didn’t do it alone. I recently read the description of something that I created with someone else, and they claimed 100% of the credit. They even went as far in a short paragraph to say that it was created by them.
I am at a place in my life with another zero turning over on the odometer of life where I realize that life is too short just to build your own kingdom. Collaboration is a far more effective tool to make a difference. If you are trying to do it all alone and take all the credit for it, chances are you aren’t actually accomplishing anything worth talking about.
Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden was right when he said, “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” Far too often we lessen our influence because we are so focused on adding the credit rather than the multiplying of our impact.

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