Quilt with Me…I’ll Quilt with You

Community CoLeadership

I’m not a crafty person. My Mother was – good with crafts, that is. When it came to quilting, there were too many intricacies, I thought, as I watched her thread pieces of fabric together during my childhood. I liked to keep things simple…crafts were not for me.

As I grew older, I ported my desire for simplicity to the way I learned. Group projects seemed too complicated…I’d rather go it alone. I’d do it better, faster, and with less irritation at the various “pieces” (people) to handle. I then brought this into my early work, not always keeping others apprised of my progress as I masterminded—often in solitude—what I believed to be creatively-stunning outputs.

There was a cost, I realized, over time. I missed the chance to learn from others to enrich my own growth. I lost the opportunity for others to weigh in with their brilliance so the resulting output could be even better than I had imagined.

As this big, bright lightbulb exploded in my head during my early 30s, I began to change my ways. It wasn’t easy at first. Things took longer; they didn’t go the way I’d envisioned; and—most importantly—it was sometimes difficult for me to express my vision to others in words. I came to adopt the slogan, “Two brains are better than one, and three better than two.” It became one of my standard modes of operating.

Today, I am still learning what “co-leadership” means but I have irrefutable evidence that leading together is my best chance at creating the positive changes I wish to see in my world. The idea of community has become central to my way of leading and living. I crave working with others now, having learned that doing things on my own actually takes longer and is not as fulfilling. The “quilts” of my leadership now burst with color and depth because of community and co-leadership.

This Week: Think about where you feel isolated in your life, where you carry a responsibility alone. Know you aren’t the only one who feels that way. Now do a quick scan—write a list, if it helps—of people in your life and choose someone who can help you brainstorm possibilities for how to make that responsibility seem less isolating.

In Next Week’s Post: We explore how to activate others into movement towards what’s desired.

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