I expect to accomplish great things. I'm certainly not unique.
I don't feel I have yet. I set goals. I envision the outcomes and identify why that outcome is important. Then I work hard. Pretty simple, right? Except very few of the outcomes have come to fruition. I believe this is partly due to my weakness at enlisting the help of allies. Without the help and support of others, the summits I reach will be little more than foothills.
I've found that even working with like-minded individuals isn't enough to guarantee success. In fact, sometimes collaboration can be the quickest path to failure. When a common vision is not shared we may say we work together, but everybody continues to look towards their own goals. "Oh, they're close enough", we say.
Everybody with an ounce of ambition has some mountain they want to climb. It may be small or large but there is a burning, unquenchable desire to conquer their mountain.
Their goals are not mine and mine are not theirs. We own our dreams and ambitions. This ownership creates feelings of responsibility and accountability. We nurture our goals even if we never bother to speak them aloud. When we work with other ambitious people, there is a gap of perception of what is most important. This gap is where great leaders are able plants the seeds of success.
Working towards separate goals will never yield collective success. People may compromise, which means descending down into a valley shadowed by previous hopes. They find the lowest common denominator; an outcome nobody is truly happy with. All the while, they stare upwards, away from each other, at their previous goals. They wish something, anything, would happen to convince others to follow them.
Every moment steps are taken in different directions with the claim that we are working together. The team is pulled apart. Maybe a few people will step in the same direction, if someone happens to push the hardest in that moment. This type of compromise creates no progress and spends the most energy.
Don't confuse activity for accomplishment – John Wooden
Those who achieve the most in life have discovered that compromise isn't the answer. Convergence is the path to success. Discover the Third Peak.
The Third Peak is the elevated common ground that everybody is eager to reach. It requires a perception change. It doesn't diminish or take away anybody's goals or dreams, instead it takes them into account. The Third Peak is an elusive place and the only way to find it is to take your eye off your mountain and search for our mountain.
Leadership is discovering this common ground. Seek convergence, not compromise.
You must find the Third Peak. Discover the vision that everybody is eager to pursue. Yes, it may still technically be a compromise, but instead everybody is brought together and are better off for it. Everyone's desires are taken into account. There is deep and genuine understanding of each individual's strengths, intentions, and desires. It requires truly understanding their ambitions.
Learning so much about a person is difficult. Learning this about yourself can be even harder. This is not an easy task. It requires the creation of a space that is secure and safe, where people feel completely free to speak and be heard.
This is true for yourself, also. What is your safe space? Where do you go to speak and be heard?
Do you truly listen to yourself and the questions you need to ask?
I hope you enjoy my very rough sketch! I had been wanting to draw more, but I get caught up in a cycle of perfection. For this I set a timer and allowed myself 15 minutes and whatever I produced at the end was going to be good enough. I look forward to seeing how much improvement I can realize 15 minutes at a time.
Cover photo courtesy of Flickr user Eric Lamoureux