I actually can remember the bright young faces of my parents, then in their 20s, earnestly teaching me, their first born, to tie her shoes “all by herself.” The looks of celebration and praise on my mother’s and father’s faces when I accomplished this feat of independence are unforgettable.
An entrepreneur extols “all by myself.” But I have found it to be a child’s path.
As I reflect on the two-year anniversary of my company, after pure luck, I believe the single-most powerful determinant of my company’s 2.0 longevity has been not doing it by myself.
Feedback, at times, can be painful.
“Look at me! I’ve started a company all by myself!” I think as a child. As an adult, I say, “I have an idea. What do you think?”
The adult is told, “Not bad. But I see some problems with it. Some things you might want to consider are…” The child wonders sadly what happened to the looks of praise.
But the adult thinks, "I didn't know that. I never would have thought of that."
No matter how much I want to know it all and do it all by myself – and sometimes still believe I do and can – I do not and cannot. I have learned from a half century of life that when I don’t know what to do, not asking for guidance is folly. Asking for guidance, especially from like-minded individuals who seek, or have achieved, business success, from members of a group connected to more groups in complex networks, offers a collective wisdom the extents of which I could never even dream of gaining even in an entire life-time.
My parents’ faces are no longer young and mine has double the age theirs did during the shoe-tying lessons. What lasts, what matters, what makes a difference – these are the concerns of adulthood, less about who can tie the shoes, but whether we all have the shoes we need to take us on our life's journeys.
Before Handshake Media, Incorporated was even a company, its founder, Anne Giles Clelland, joined VT KnowledgeWorks. Handshake Media is a sponsor of VT KnowledgeWorks and VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.