In my youth I loved wilderness camping, and I noticed Outward Bound in Euell Gibbons’ column in a magazine. At the time, females weren’t allowed. I very much wanted to go. During my teens the courses opened up to women, so I went after my first year of university as a delayed high school graduation gift.
People think Outward Bound is a wilderness survival course. What you get from it depends on what you put into it and on the people with whom you go through it. I was in a good brigade. We all came out of the course changed, although not in the ways we expected.
We all got two priceless lessons.
Most of my brigade went to Outward Bound to find out what our limits were. We all discovered our limits are never where we believe they are, so it’s always worthwhile to keep pressing and not stop until we really have gone as far as we can go instead of stopping where we think we can’t go farther.
The other revelation is that we can accomplish a heck of a lot more in collaboration with others than alone. Time after time, we faced challenges that seemed far beyond what we could do. Time after time, we surprised ourselves by achieving them. But in the middle of the course we each had three days on solo, where we found ourselves nowhere near as successful or powerful alone as we had come to feel in the brigade.
The Value of a Good Team
Throughout my working life, I’ve joined teams that belong to my clients and helped them reach their goals. Some of those were world class groups. I felt privileged to get to work with them. The one thing they all have in common, from the most elite to the seemingly ordinary, is that the team pulling together is able to accomplish wonders that the members working alone could not achieve.
Solo Is a Valid Option, But…
There are plenty of times and places for going solo. Some things, you simply have to do yourself. I should know—I’ve been there.
But if you can work as a team instead, you can take on bigger goals. When the team is full of people who know their limits aren’t where they seem, people who keep going when most people would quit, miracles can happen.
Nobody can change the world alone. If that’s what you would really like to do, it’ll need teamwork. Just make sure your team is a good one.