Fast and Far

You’ve likely heard the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

It’s always rubbed me the wrong way. Can we not go both fast and far together?

As a professional facilitator, I’m confident that well-structured group conversations can help people use their time more effectively and make wiser decisions faster. But this idea of going faster together resonates more deeply than that, especially right now.

In Die Empty, Todd Henry writes, “The great problems we see in the world today will not be solved by people functioning at half capacity.” His point is not to settle for mediocrity and to give life our all. But there are many reasons we might find ourselves running out of steam unrelated to our level of commitment or effort, and his point about the urgency of the challenges facing us still holds true. Eighteen months into a global pandemic, as many of us in the northern hemisphere are wrapping up summer vacation and heading into a busy back-to-school time of year, we may still be feeling depleted. If we were able to take a holiday, it may not have been sufficient to recharge our batteries this year. Perhaps you’re embarking on a season that requires to you be at your best, but you have a sense that you are still “functioning at half capacity.”

What to do?

One solution is to rely on one another to bolster our lone efforts and shore us up when we are weary. Your half capacity, plus my half plus her half, his half and their half can lead to lots getting done. We’ll go faster and farther than we ever could alone.

Photo by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

So, as you re-engage with your colleagues this fall, be encouraged by three things:

  1. Take time to recharge as you can. As Parker Palmer writes, “The only thing we have to bring to community is ourselves, so the contemplative process of recovering our true selves in solitude is never selfish. It is ultimately the best gift we can give to others.”
  2. Your recovery time this year will likely not have been sufficient to fully recharge. You won’t be alone in that as we re-gather.
  3. Part of reconnecting with people can involve relying on them to fill gaps in capacity for you, and you doing the same for them. I hope you find yourself in (or can create) a culture where it’s safe and even expected to do so.

Let’s go both fast and far together.

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