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I want to be on a team.

I want a squad. A posse. A crew.

I want to be part of a unit on a mission that can only be accomplished together.

I believe together is far better than apart, than solo.

I’ve always been like this. I could never understand taking a bike ride alone, going for a walk alone, or taking runs on the ski slope alone. I see that other people often love being alone. They find true joy from a solo, amazing ski run in delicious powder, and it can fill their cup. I see that and think, “What’s the point? Ski or walk alone? Why?” I could just stay still and end up in the same place. A walk, alone, simply reinforces for me that I’m alone.

I don’t want to be alone. I want to be together. (It helps that I’m certain my dog, and every dog I’ve ever had, is fluent in English, so my squad doesn’t have to be all humans, but it does need beating hearts.)

Why am I so stuck on togetherness? It starts with this: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This ancient, unattributed proverb represents my deepest belief. With an alleged source somewhere in Africa,I’m not trying to grab the elusive mantle of African proverbs to boost myself. But I personally know this proverb to be true. For me. And I can’t say it any better than this.

Do I ever need a moment to myself? Sure. A moment. A few minutes. That’s all I need.

Don’t mistake my togetherness preference for being happy around everyone. No, if I’m around the wrong people, people with whom I can’t form a team, then ugh, get me outta there. So I’m not that guy who runs around doling out hugs to everyone, chatting up randoms, and extracting satisfaction from almost any interaction. Just the opposite. I’m intensely committed to spending my time with the humans (or other creatures) who contribute to making me feel good, which includes allowing me to participate in helping them feel good. I’m intensely committed to working with others to make something great, better, new, interesting. Sometimes together includes tough conversations, intense accountability, feelings of failure, and falling short. But it also always includes Being Together, being with someone else, doing something together.

I believe in the power of a posse and think a great team can achieve so much more than a single, alone person can. Yet, I also know it is not the only way, nor the best way for everyone. Clearly, many people are actually better, happier, more inspired and productive alone.

My message here is simple: Know what YOU need and get it.

If you are like me and together time is your jam, then build your team, carefully grow and tend your crew.

If alone time is what fills your cup, then create, actually demand, that alone time. If there is someone or something that is sapping your energy when you are around them, or even not around them, then damn it, make the change, learn the polite but hardcore “no” and create a world that fulfills you without all the excess that doesn’t. Map out your life and your schedule and how you spend your time on your terms.

If you are getting what you need and you’ve cut out, edited out, or deleted the useless stuff, then bravo, keep going. Keep those shields up with all the good stuff inside the perimeter.

Thanks for reading. Go YOUR way.


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